Pakistani security agencies arrested an alleged recruiter for the Islamic State group in the eastern city of Lahore, officials said Thursday. The Pakistani-Syrian man, named as Yousaf al-Salafi, was arrested over the weekend along with two accomplices, police and intelligence officials said. Al-Salafi reached Pakistan from Syria via Turkey in September last year, the officials told dpa.
The arrests came days after a video purportedly showing some Pakistani Taliban commanders announcing allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was posted on jihadi websites. Al-Salafi visited Taliban fighters in their hideouts in the north-western tribal regions near the Afghan border, officials said, speculating that his activities and the video might be linked.
There are signs that the Islamic State group is growing in influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a region long dominated by al-Qaeda.
Late last year, three Pakistani-Australians were detained in Pakistan for allegedly recruiting members for the Islamic State, which controls large swathes of territories in Iraq and Syria.
Pakistani intelligence officials said they believed Islamic State is attempting to seek support from anti-Shiite fighters capable of carrying out terrorist attacks inside Iranian territory.
Authorities have stepped up surveillance of Islamic seminaries and people linked with radical groups in the wake of the Lahore arrests.
“We are on high alert,” provincial Home Minister Shuja Khanzada said. SAPA