close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

'Safoora Goth attackers were inspired by IS'

Karachi

July 2, 2015

Karachi
The Sindh police's Counter Terrorism Department said on Wednesday that the five men arrested for the Safoora Goth bus attack were inspired by Middle East-based terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) and polygraph tests had corroborated their confession.
At a media briefing, CTD counter-terrorism wing chief Raja Umer Khattab said an investigation team was formed comprising members from his department as well as intelligence officials and the five men were arrested in a raid in Gulshan-e-Maymar just six days after the Safoora Goth attack.
He identified them as Tahir Hussain Minhas alias Saeen Nazeer alias Zahid alias Naveed alias Khalid alias Shaukat alias Mota, Saad Aziz alias Tun Tun alias John, Hafiz Nasir Ahmed alias Yasir, Mohammed Azhar Ishrat alias Majid and Asadur Rehman alias Malik.
On May 13, 2015, terrorists had intercepted a bus carrying members of the Ismaili community and gunned down 47 people.
The official said the CTD had found the five men in possession of weapons including seven 9mm pistols, two Kalashnikovs and five grenades besides seven laptops, seven cell phones, two vehicles and four motorcycles that were used in the attack. Clothes including police uniform and shalwar kameez with blood stains on them were also found at their hideout.
They were interrogated by a joint interrogation team for two weeks. The official said that this was the first time that police had used polygraph tests in their investigation.

IS-inspired
Tahir Minhas, the leader of the group, told the interrogators that he was earlier working for al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) under the command of Jalal, the elder brother of notorious terrorist Ramzi Yousef. The group was popularly known by his name, Tahir alias Saeen, in Karachi and Hyderabad.
Jalal’s job was to provide funds to the members of the organisation and had connections with al-Qaeda Arabia network. One individual, operating with the code name Haji Sahab in

Karachi and Wadh in Balochistan, was in command of many Baloch youngsters involved in kidnappings for ransom, attacks on NATO containers and other terrorist activities.
In 2014, Minhas developed differences with Jalal over funds and other organisational matters. Afterwards, he formed his own group taking on board likeminded men but had not named it yet.
Minhas said he was inspired by IS and wanted to establish connections with it. However, he was unsuccessful in getting in touch with IS as his group had not carried out a major terrorist attack.
Therefore, he planned several major attacks and discussed it with Abdullah Yousuf who claimed to have connections with the IS terrorists.

Safoora Goth attack
The suspects told the interrogators that they had planned the Safoora Goth attack two months before they went ahead with it and had visited the area around seven times.
They had also monitored the movement of the vehicle that transported members of the Ismaili community and prepared a map to plan the attack and their escape route.
In the map, they had circled some points naming them A, B, C, D etc so that each member would be present at a specific location on the day of the attack. All 10 members of the group were present at the scene at the time of the attack, two inside two getaway vehicles while the rest carried out the attack.
The official said six members of the group entered the bus, four of them fired gunshots at the passengers, one took the driver’s seat and one was stationed at the main gate of the vehicle to prevent anyone from escaping. Overall, they took about 10 to 12 minutes to finish the job.
The terrorists were wearing police uniform, shalwar kameez and pants shirt. The attack was supervised by Minhas.
The CTD found the blood-stained clothes of Tahir Minhas and an absconder member of the group, Abdullah Mansoori, when it raided their hideout.

Sabeen Mahmud murder
Khattab said the murder of T2F director Sabeen Mahmud was planned and committed by Saad Aziz alias Tun Tun. Before targeting Mahmud, Aziz had twice visited T2F to attend programmes there.
Aziz was against Mahmud’s views about Lal Masjid, Valentine’s Day and the wearing of veil, compelling him to plan his murder.
On the day of attack, Ali Rehman, Hafiz Umer, Jawad, Mehmood and Tayyab were also accompanying him.
As soon as Mahmud, her mother and driver left T2F, Aziz and Mehmood chased them on a motorcycle and the former fired gunshots at her near the Defence Library intersection.

Other terrorist attacks
The official said the group had also attacked police vans in Karachi and Hyderabad, a school in Karachi with a grenade, imambargahs and the Bohra community and also carried out bank robberies and kidnappings for ransom. It was also responsible for the attack on US national Dr Debra Lobo and the killing of police and Rangers personnel.

Foreign connections
Khattab said the group also had links with Indian intelligence agency RAW. He added that possibility of the group receiving Indian funds could not be ruled out.
He added some members of the group were still at large and they had had released their pictures so that they could be arrested with the assistance of the public.
Besides, their pictures and other details have also been sent to intelligence agencies.
The CTD official said the arrested men had been found in possession of a list containing names media personnel, fashion designers, NGO office-bearers and law enforcement agencies personnel who they were planning to target.