IS recruitment cell busted in Lahore
A nine-member Islamic State cell that was recruiting and transporting people to Syria and Afghanistan has been busted here, police said.
The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab said it busted a cell of the militant Islamic State (IS) group operating in Lahore and arrested nine people.
The cell was recruiting and transporting new members to Syria and Afghanistan. The cell had already managed to send nine recruits to Syria.
After the arrest of these nine people, the total number of IS group members who have been arrested in different parts of Punjab in recent months reached 45.
According to the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police, the nine members of the IS group were arrested in a raid in Cantonment area last week. Those arrested, included Lahore IS chief Nabil Ahmed alias Abu Abdullah.
"The cell was not only recruiting militants but also radicalising youths and transporting them, along with their families, to Syria or Afghanistan. It was also allegedly working to develop its capacity to establish organisational structure of IS in Pakistan," the CTD said. The group was also working on a plan to accelerate its activities in Pakistan after announcing a 'caliphate' in the country.
According to a CTD official, those arrested were also involved in robbing banks and looting shrines and houses of the Shia and Ahmadi community members to raise funds for militant activities.
"The CTD has identified some IS recruits, including some families based in Lahore and their handlers in Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey," the official said, adding that the recruits, who were planning to leave for Syria and Afghanistan, had already sold their property to bear the transportation expenses.
During the raid on IS Lahore chief Nabil's house, the CTD team recovered IS literature, video clips, pamphlets and stickers containing content against the Pakistan Army, besides laptops and mobile phones used by the cell's members. The official said Qari Abid, Nabeel's uncle, has been living in Syria for more than a year where he joined the IS.
"The Pakistanis contacting the IS leadership in Syria for joining the group were referred to Qari Abid. Later, Abid directed them to contact his nephew, Nabil in Lahore," he said.
The CTD said the recruits had to take the oath of allegiance to self-proclaimed 'caliphate' of Abu Bakar Al- Baghdadi. Then they would be given a choice to either go to Afghanistan or Syria.
It said Nabil was responsible for preparation of the recruits’ travel documents. Those willing to go to Syria were first taken to Iran and then to Turkey. They were later moved to Syria from Turkey.