The Pakistani military has offered more details of the would-be ISIS-inspired terrorist who planned to attack Christians on Easter. On April 14, security forces raided the terrorists hideout and were able to kill one ISIS militant and arrest two others, including a 20-year-old female medical student from Hyderabad. According to reports, this medical student was radicalized over social media. With confirmed ISIS operations in Pakistan, are Christian communities now under more threat?
04/18/2017 Pakistan (Voice of America) – Military officials in Pakistan say a would-be Islamic State female suicide bomber had planned to assault a church during Easter celebrations Sunday in Lahore before a counter-terrorism raid captured her this past Friday.
Army spokesman General Asif Ghafoor at a news conference Monday identified the suspect as Naureen Leghari, saying she is still under investigation.
The young woman, officials say, has told investigators she was contacted and radicalized by IS operatives through social media.
Ghafoor also dismissed reported claims that Leghari had traveled to Syria and received training at IS-run terror camps there. He said the evidence collected so far has established she never went to Syria.
“We are debriefing her. Our first effort is that she should go back and live a normal life. And the next is that we should do measures collectively as a nation that our kids are not misguided and they are not lured into such activities again,” Ghafoor said.
The spokesman released a video confessional statement in which Leghari says she was studying in a medical college in the southern city of Hyderabad and only recently moved to Lahore with two other accomplices to execute the terrorist plot.
“We were given two suicide vests, four hand grenades and some bullets by our organization. The [explosives-filled] jackets were to be used for an attack on a church on Easter and I was tasked to be the suicide bomber,” Leghari said. “But the security forces raided their hideout on the night of April 14 and arrested them.”
Pakistani authorities have repeatedly asserted that there is no “organized” presence of IS in the country, but critics question those claims, citing recent arrests of loyalists of the group from major cities, including the national capital of Islamabad and Karachi.