KARACHI: Police in Karachi have arrested a man suspected of being a high-profile member of the Zainebiyoun Brigade, a counterterrorism official said on Wednesday, referring to a militant group composed of Pakistani nationals fighting in Syria and Iraq.
Zainebiyoun Brigade reportedly has over 800 Pakistanis fighting in Syria. The group’s fighters are allegedly trained by Iran’s Quds Force, the military unit responsible for projecting Iran’s influence via proxies across the Middle East.
“We have arrested two militants, including one who joined Zainebiyoun and fought along the Assad forces before returning to Pakistan,” Israr Awan of the Counter Terrorism Department told Arab News. He said the arrests took place during an intelligence operation close to Karachi city’s Siemen’s Chowrangi area on Tuesday night.
The alleged Zainebiyoun-affiliated militant was identified as Syed Kamran Haider Zaidi alias Kami alias Wasti, and the other as Syed Ali Raza alias Bobby, associated with Pakistan's anti-Shia Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan.
According to Awan, Zaidi had confessed to committing several sectarian killings between 2007 and 2018.
A police press release on Wednesday said the accused belonged to Zainebiyoun and had also fought against Daesh in Syria.
“Several of Zaidi’s fellows are still fighting in Syria,” Awan said, saying he was quoting Zaidi’s confession.
The Zaynabiyoun Brigade was placed on the US Treasury’s financial blacklist in January 2019.