ISIS entering a new phase, cells acting with a degree of autonomy in Pakistan

800 (2)IS deadly new front in Pakistan’s decades-old terror war

Source: Associated Press

By KATHY GANNON

DHABEJI, Pakistan (AP) — Hafeez Nawaz was 20 years old when he left his religious school in Karachi to join the Islamic State group in Afghanistan. Three years later he was back in Pakistan to carry out a deadly mission: With explosives strapped to his body, he blew himself up in the middle of an election rally last month, killing 149 people and wounding 300 others.

The attack in southwestern Baluchistan province near the Afghan border just days before Pakistan’s July 25 parliamentary elections has cast an unwelcome spotlight on Nawaz’s tiny village of Dhabeji, where the presence of an IS cell in their midst has brought the full weight of Pakistan’s security apparatus down on its residents.

“Now we are all under suspicion,” said Nawaz’s neighbor, who gave only his first name, Nadeem, for fear of the local police. “The security agencies now consider Dhabeji a security threat area.”

Nawaz’s trajectory from religiously devout student to jihadi and suicide bomber is an all too familiar one in Pakistan.

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