Four people killed and others arrested in a joint raid by security and intelligence agencies at a house in Kala Shah Kaku on June 29 were associated with al Qaeda, Home Minister Col (r) Shuja Khanzada said at a press conference on Wednesday.
He said one of the four killed in the raid was believed to be al Qaeda’s leader in Pakistan. He was identified as Abdali. Two others had belonged to the Punjab. They were identified as Faisal Mubashir, a Faisalabad resident, and Saqib Hussain, a Rawalpindi resident. The fourth was identified as Muhammad Nauman, a Tank resident. The suspects arrested in the raid were identified as Hamza and Abdullah.
Khanzada said the suspects had arrived in the city to undertake a terrorist attack at the Intelligence Bureau headquarters on The Mall. He said based on information obtained from the two suspects teams had been sent to Karachi, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad to track down their accomplices.
Khanzada said a week before the raid provincial agencies had been alerted by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) about the possible arrival of the suspects in the city. He said according to the intelligence report three suspects had left Wana, South Waziristan, for Dera Ismail Khan. He said two of them had boarded a bus for Lahore on June 24. Their third accomplice had returned to Wana. He said the two suspects had spent two days at a Tableghi Jamat facility before moving to the house in Al-Raheem Housing Society, Al-Kareem Town, where the raid took place. He said the house had been rented by one of their accomplices for Rs5,000 a month.
Khanzada said the suspects had opened fire at the raiding team. He said the team had returned their fire, killing four suspects and injuring two. The shooting continued for 20 to 25 minutes, he added.
He said four Kalashinov rifles, 26 loaded magazines, 32 rocket launchers, four suicide jackets, 41 grenades, four remote control devices, 15 detonaters, several pistols, and 15 kg explosives had been seized in the raid.
He said the suspects had received training at an al Qaeda camp. Responding to a question, he said Pakistani and Afghan intelligence agencies were sharing information with each other in a bid to weaken Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations operating in the region.
He said several al Qaeda operatives had left the country as a result of Zarb-i-Azb and Khyber-II operations.
The home minister said Maulana Asif Umer of India was the current leader of Al-Qaeda for the region. He was currently based in Afghanistan, he added. He said Umer’s predecessor had been an American citizen. He was killed in a drone attack.
Khanzada congratulated the Armed Forces, the ISI and the Counter Terrorism Department on the successful operation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.