Wagah carnage: 4-member sleeper cell busted

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LAHORE – The country’s premier security services have busted a 4-member sleeper cell that had provided logistic support to the suicide bomber who created havoc at Wagah Border on November 2, murdering at least 62 innocent people.
Contacts close to the top security services confided to The Nation on Tuesday that a 4-member sleeper cell was picked up from a village within Wagah vicinity in the wee hours of Monday.
In another such action, around six to eight suspects have been picked up from the surroundings of Raiwind for their possible links with the perpetrators of Wagah carnage.
However, they added that the suspects of ‘Wagah Catch’ were close to the gruesome incident, while no important information had been extracted from the Raiwind suspects so far.
When asked whether the 4-member sleeper cell of Wagah provided suicide jacket to the bomber, they informed that it had provided sanctuary to the bomber and he had planned the massacre in the same house from where the cell was blown, while the question concerning the provision of suicide jacket was under interrogation.
Regarding possible identity of the suicide bomber, they informed that he possibly belonged to Mohmand Agency; however further interrogations in this regard were underway.
They claimed that as per initial interrogation, the neutralised sleeper cell seemed close to the ideology of Jundullah. They added that it was yet to be ascertained whether the Wagah episode was the result of Jundullah or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamatul Ahrar (TTP-JA) or a joint operation.
It may be mentioned here that the Jundullah had claimed responsibility of the Wagah terror attack a few minutes afterwards while the TTP-JA followed the suite after sometime of Jundullah’s claim.
The TTP-JA through a statement had announced the name of the suicide bomber, claiming it would also release footage of the bomber but it hasn’t done this so far.
A senior member of the intelligence community who dealt with counter-terrorism operations including intelligence gathering and military action against the terrorists told this correspondent that the TTP-JA should release the video of the suicide bomber if the Wagah carnage was its operation. He was of the opinion that any splinter of the outlawed TTP was not in a position to carryout terror operations of this scale especially in the provincial capital of Punjab.
However, the Jundullah, which was operating near Pak-Iran-Afghan border in Balochistan, could carry out the Wagah Border-like attacks with the assistance of the enemies of Pakistan.
He proposed that intelligence agencies investigating the Wagah episode should strongly consider the possibility of transportation of the suicide bomber to the neighbouring vicinity of Wagah in the less checked or sometimes unchecked vehicles used for trade goods at the border.
Meanwhile, the Interior Department contacts endorsing the details said the information has been launched from Punjab to Balochistan to apprehend the mastermind of Wagah carnage and its local facilitators.
They informed that around two dozen suspects have been picked up by security services from Lahore, Sargodha, Multan and Faisalabad immediately after the Wagah attack. The suspects were under surveillance for their ‘grey activities’ in a bid to get some possible clues of the Wagah terror attack. However, they add that Lahore remained the focus of the security services’ operations.
The Interior Department contacts further informed that a threat alert has been sent to the authorities concerned in Punjab hinting at strong possibilities of attacks at military targets including the Wagah and others.
They added the security services have nailed some sleeper cells in Punjab which in the course of interrogations have disclosed the details of their possible attacks in Lahore.

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