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Saturday Jul 22 2017
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Terror outfit Ansar-ul-Sharia behind recent attacks in Karachi: sources

KARACHI: A new terrorist group has been involved in recent wave of terror attacks in Karachi, security sources told Geo News Friday, which is inspired by Al Qaeda brand of terror activities.

Ansar-ul-Sharia has been involved in five terrorism incidents in Karachi and Mastung, security sources said, and has so far been outside the reach of law. The incidents include killing of a retired colonel, six policemen and a private security guard in Karachi, and an IED blast targeting security forces in Mastung.

The outfit could not be inspired by Daesh's ideology, but instead it was influenced by Al Qaeda's Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Initially, it did operate under Daesh umbrella, however, differences led to parting of the ways later.

The group comprises of militants from Al Qaeda Subcontinent, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Daesh, sources said. At present the group is being run by a man named Ahmed Farooq, and operates in Karachi and Balochistan.

In the first incident on February 21, militants affiliated with the group shot a private security guard dead at a mobile franchise in Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of Karachi. The guard was wearing police-like uniform and the bike-riding militants mistook him for a cop.

On April 5, an Ansar-ul-Sharia hitman targeted a retired army colonel, Tahir Nagi, on Shahrah-e-Faisal near the Baloch Colony flyover. The bike-riding assailant, however, was being given cover by his accomplices on three other motorbikes.

The attacker also took away Col. Nagi's laptop after shooting him dead. The slain colonel helped prepare candidates for forces' exam.

The third attack was carried out by the militant group in Bahadurabad on May 20, in which two policemen were martyred and another was wounded. Investigators found that one out of the two 9mm pistols used in the attack was previously used in the killing of the private security guard in Gulistan-e-Jauhar.

Security sources said the group carried out the fourth attack on June 23, when militants affiliated with it shot and martyred four policemen in Karachi's SITE area, who were sitting at a roadside hotel for Iftar. Again one of the two weapons used in the attack was traced back to the Bahadurabad incident.

The forensic reports of the incidents also substantiated the use of same weapon in more than one attack.

In Mastung, the group targeted a security forces vehicle through an IED blast.

So far, none of the terrorists affiliated with the group has been apprehended. The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) issued an information report on the militant group, but no arrest has been made to date.

The arrest of Ansar-ul-Sharia militants seems to have become a challenge for the country's intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

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