Islamabad: The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the killing of two Chinese nationals, including a woman, who were abducted by armed gunmen from Pakistan’s restive northwest Balochistan province recently.
The Chinese pair was studying Urdu language at a local teaching center in the provincial capital of Quetta when it was forcibly kidnapped by unknown gunmen last month. Another Chinese woman had escaped the abduction.
Islamic State on its ‘Amaq News Agency’ uploaded a statement in Arabic on Thursday, saying it had killed the two abducted Chinese nationals.
The Pakistani officials are yet to comment on the ISIS’ confirmation, which came a day after army claimed that it had carried out an operation against ISIS in Balochistan.
At least 12 ISIS militants were killed in a three-day operation at the start of June in the mountains of Mastung district of Balochistan.
Earlier, local media had reported that the operation was launched after intelligence reports suggested that the militants were hiding there with the abducted Chinese nationals.
China is developing the strategically located Gwadar port in Balochistan, which many experts say is aimed at having a military presence.
Pakistan has been grappling with Islamist and nationalist insurgencies in Balochistan since 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting.
ISIS has been making inroads in Pakistan with the help of its ties with local militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. However, the government has largely downplayed the presence of the dreaded terror outfit.