Pakistani-Syrian man was recruiting for the Islamic State group in madrassahs across Pakistan.
Security forces have arrested a member of the Islamic State jihadist group and two accomplices in Lahore, officials said Wednesday.
“A Pakistani-Syrian man named Yousaf Al-Salafi and two of his accomplices were arrested two days ago,” said a senior security official. “During investigation he has confessed that he was setting up I.S. operations in Pakistan,” the official said on the condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to speak to media.
Al-Salafi, believed to be about 40-years-old, entered Pakistan around five months ago via Turkey and worked with Hafiz Tayyab, an imam at a local mosque, to recruit Pakistani men to fight in Syria—charging the I.S. group about $600 for each person they sent, the official said.
The other accomplice was identified only as Doctor Fuwad from Sialkot who, arranged visits for Al-Salafi to various madrassahs in that city and Gujranwala, he added.
During the past five months Al-Salafi also visited the northwestern tribal areas that border Afghanistan and met with Pakistani Taliban militants, the official said. “If he had been free, he might have launched some big attacks in Lahore and other cities,” the official said.
A local intelligence official also confirmed the arrests.
There are concerns in Pakistan of the I.S. group tapping support within Pakistan and Afghanistan, a region awash with dozens of militant groups. Leaflets calling for support for I.S. jihadists have been seen in parts of northwest Pakistan and pro-I.S. group slogans have appeared on walls in several cities.
A video was also recently online purportedly showing dozens of former militants of the Pakistani Taliban pledging allegiance to the I.S. group and beheading a man they identified as a Pakistani soldier.