Five "important" al-Qaida operatives were arrested in a raid in Pakistan's Punjab province, averting a "major terror attack" on intelligence agencies' offices and sensitive installations in the area, officials said on Friday.
Terming the arrests as an "important breakthrough", the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab Police said the operation smashed the media cell and the terrorism financing network of the Al-Qaida Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).
Acting on a tip-off, the Counter-Terrorism Department and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in a joint operation on Thursday night arrested five AQIS terrorists from Gujranwala city, some 80 km from Lahore, the CTD said in a statement.
"The AQIS network was running the media cell of the organisation and was also sending funds to their central leadership in Afghanistan. They were very important members of the Al-Qaeda," it said.
With the arrest of the five terrorists, the joint CTD-ISI team was able to "avert a major terror attack" on intelligence agencies' offices and sensitive installations in Punjab province, the statement said, adding that more arrests of AQIS members are expected in the coming days.
The network had recently shifted to Gujranwala from Karachi and were planning to launch attacks on personnel of law enforcement agencies in Gujranwala, the CTD officials said.
"Computers, printing press, suicide jackets, explosives, mobile phones, rifles, pistols, ammunition and funds for terrorism financing were recovered from their possession," they said.
The arrested terrorists have been identified as Asim Akbar alias Jaffer Bazurg from Lahore, Karachi residents Abdullah Umair alias Hanzla, Ahmad alias Qasim, Muhammad Yousaf and Muhammad Yaqoob alias Gora.
While Bazurg was running the AQIS's media network and the printing press, Hanzla was the overall coordinator for the AQIS operations.
A trained militant, Qasim was an "urban terrorist warfare" expert, while Yousaf was trained in urban ambush operations. Gora was a social media blogger and an expert in making forged documents, the CTD officials said.