LAHORE - Two groups of banned umbrella organisation Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and one of its splinters have planned to hit military and civilian targets in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, intelligence sources told The Nation yesterday.

All the terror groups – TTP Geedar Group, headed by Umar Naray; TTP Mohmand Group, controlled by Khan Said Sajna; and Jamat-ul-Ahrar led by Omar Khalid Khorasani – are operating from Afghan soil near the border with Pakistan.

The Khorasani and Sajna gangs have planned to strike the military and civilian targets of Punjab, particularly in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Mianwali and Gujrat’s Sarai Alamgir tehsil. The terrorists’ focus could be the military and air force targets in the five districts of the province, added the intelligence sources.

The Naray gang has planned to hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with a focus on civilian and military targets in Peshawar, Shabqadar, Nowshera and Abottabad.

The terrorists may use security forces and law enforcing agencies uniform while carrying out the strikes. They might also use the cover of health emergency services by using ambulances.

Two vehicles of Toyota Company make of 2009 model of silver colour might be used in staging a major incident in Punjab, they said.

The targets include military and air force bases, law enforcing facilities, security check posts, educational and health facilities, public amusement parks, five-star hotels, airports and shopping malls, they added.

Part of the information is extracted from more than four terrorist sleeper cells that had been operating in Punjab and KP. The laptops, computers, mobile phone data cards recovered from the possession of the busted sleeper units also helped the security agencies to acquire information.

Certain other pieces of information have been collected from communication interceptions and network of informers working inside the terrorist outfits, said the intelligence sources.

In the light of fresh intelligence information, security forces carried intelligence-led search and comb operations in Gujrat’s tehsil of Sarai Alamgir, Sargodha and Mianwali and busted facilitators and sleeper cells of the terrorists.

They recovered vehicles with fake number plates, light and heavy weapons and fake identities from their possession. However the intelligence sources refused to share the identities of arrested men and details of the things recovered from them.

More than 11 terrorists may undertake terror attacks in Punjab, but the number can increase if the local sleeper cells are also actively involved in the terrorist operations. Similarly, around six terrorists can strike in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, excluding the local sleepers.

The terrorists have planned to launch multiple attacks, which include the “hits at the real targets and diversionary attacks”. In diversionary attacks, the terrorists engage the security personnel at the targeted location with heavy fire. However, at the real targets they use both heavy fire and suicide bombers.

Following the new intelligence inputs, commanders of the military and air force facilities have been aked to be more vigilant and take heightened security measures, said the intelligence sources.

The groups operating from Afghan soil have been aided and abetted by the Indian and Afghan spy agencies in the past and presumably they would be having their support for the fresh acts of terror too.

Indian Research &Analysis Wing (RAW) with the assistance of Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) is directing attacks on Pakistani soil mainly from Kandahar province of Afghanistan bordering with Balochistan.

Nangarhar, Kunar, Nooristan, Paktia and Paktika provinces of Afghanistan bordering with Pakistan at Fata and other areas are also being used for launching terror attacks.

Jamat-ul-Ahrar had claimed the responsibility of deadly attack on Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in the provincial capital in March this year.

The Umar Naray gang carried out three major terror attacks in KP, first of them being the most gruesome one, the attack at Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. The second attack came on Badaber Air Force Base in September 2015. The Naray gang attacked another educational institution, Bacha Khan University, on January 20, 2016.