Lahore: Pakistani police on Monday claimed to have made a "big" breakthrough in the campaign against militants, saying they had arrested 13 "terrorists" believed to have been involved in major attacks, including those on mosques of the minority Ahmedi sect and the Jinnah Hospital.
The suspects were arrested from Shahdara and Muridke, located near Lahore, a senior official of the Crime Investigation Department said.
They revealed during interrogation that they had planned to carry out attacks at 18 places in Lahore, he said.
Police seized 23,000 kg of explosives, dozens of anti-aircraft guns, grenades, machine guns, 12 rocket launchers, thousands of rounds of ammunition and police uniforms from the suspects, the official said.
The suspects were allegedly involved in major attacks, including those on mosques of the minority Ahmedi sect, the Jinnah Hospital and an Army mosque in Rawalpindi.
"They had received training in Waziristan and hidden explosives and weapons at several places (in Lahore)," the official, who preferred not to be named, said.
The suspects had links with various banned militant groups, including Harkat-ul-Jihad Al-Islami and Fazal Mehsood group which is aligned with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
A Punjab government spokesman too confirmed that the arrested suspects included would-be "suicide-bombers and their handlers”.
He said the suspects were allegedly involved in a number of terrorist attacks in the province.
"It is a big achievement and will certainly help in curbing terrorism," he said.
Ninety-five people were killed when four terrorists attacked two Ahmedi mosques in Lahore on May 28.
Days later, terrorists clad in police uniforms stormed the Jinnah Hospital to free or kill one of the militants arrested during the attacks on the Ahmedi sect.
Forty people, including a Major General and four other senior Army officers, were killed when suicide attackers targeted a mosque at Parade Lane in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in December.