Karachi, Jan 20 : Pakistan's intelligence agencies and the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh Police have nabbed eight terrorists allegedly affiliated with al-Qaeda after a grand operation in the province.
A huge quantity of C-4 explosive material and other items used in launching suicide attacks was recovered from their possession.
Five suspects were arrested in Karachi, while three were rounded up in Hyderabad, sources said.
They said the CID in active collaboration with the intelligence agencies on Friday night arrested eight al-Qaeda militants.
The militants planned to attack the main mourning processions in Karachi on the ninth and tenth of Muharram as well as military installations in the city.
Intelligence sources said that the plan of staging suicide attacks was prepared by al Qaeda, but it had assigned the task to several banned militant outfits, including Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Karachi, Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Jaish-i-Mohammad.
Al Qaeda did it to deceive the intelligence agencies that were mainly focussing outfits like Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and the local Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, they added.
However, the intelligence sleuths got wind of the plan and moved quickly to thwart it, The News reported.
The police also recovered 500 grams of cyanide from the possession of the arrested militants.
Sources revealed that the al Qaeda had planned to mix the deadly cyanide poison in Sabeels established for the mourners. This could have resulted in huge fatalities to the mourners had the plan been implemented. Experts believe that a single drop of cyanide can cause death within a few seconds.
Provincial Police Officer Sindh, Azhar Ali Farooqi, said that five terrorists belonging to various outlawed outfits, including a suspected suicide bomber, having links with banned outfits, were nabbed from North Karachi, foiling a big terrorist plot.