Akram Lahori, the leader of the Pakistani Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ)

Pakistani Sunni Militant Arrested In Southern Iran

Sunday, 02/25/2024

A leader of the Pakistani Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) has been arrested in southern Iran on charges of involvement in an anti-Shia terror group and attending bomb-making training courses in Pakistan.

Akram Lahori was planning to travel to Sunni majority Qeshm Island, as reported by state media. Lahori, also known as Muhammad Ajmal, was granted bail by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court in October last year, implicated in a 27-year-old murder case involving renowned poet Mohsin Naqvi.

The arrest comes as last month, Iran and Pakistan engaged in mutual strikes targeting what they termed "terrorist" groups in border regions. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted Jaish al-Adl's locations in Pakistan's Balochistan province, while Pakistan retaliated by bombing hideouts of armed Baloch separatists in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province. The strikes led to a rapid deterioration in diplomatic relations between Islamabad and Tehran, with both countries withdrawing ambassadors and severing official ties amid heightened rhetoric.

The LeJ is notorious for its anti-Shia stance and affiliations with groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammad and al-Qaeda. It also advocates for the destruction of Christianity, Hinduism, and Judaism. The group gained notoriety with the 1997 attack on the Iranian Centre in Multan, resulting in the deaths of an Iranian and two dozen others. Since then, LeJ has carried out numerous suicide bombings, armed assaults, and kidnappings targeting Shia communities.

It was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department in 2001 and listed by the UN as a terror organization in 2003.

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