The Islamic State group released photographs of the attackers who killed at least 61 police cadets in the massive midnight raid at the police academy. Photograph: (AFP)
The extent of support from the Islamic State is unclear, but Pakistani military last month admitted to the group's presence in the country
The Pakistan-based militant organisation, Al-Alami faction of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) group said on Wednesday that it had carried out the attack on the police training facility in Quetta with the Islamic State's support.
The Islamic State group released photographs of the attackers which killed at least 61 police cadets in the massive midnight raid at the training centre in Balochistan.
Asked whether the two had worked together, Ali bin Sufyan, a spokesman for LeJ Al-Alami, told AFP: "Yes, of course", adding: "We are ready to work with all the groups in Pakistan whether they belong to ISIS or al-Qaeda". LeJ is a former affiliate of al-Qaeda.
This has been the strongest evidence to date that the IS group has built links in Pakistan, and could pose a key rival to al-Qaeda, which is rapidly losing strength in what was once its "home ground". The extent of the material assistance to local groups from the IS remains unclear.
A military source claimed, "the militant groups including Al-Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban have been completely dismantled and those left out are now regrouping and attempting to become part of IS."
The vacuum has created opportunities for IS to step in and develop new relationships with local militants in need of financial and logistical support, a militant source added.
Last month, Pakistan's military admitted for the first time that the IS had a presence in the country but said it had detained hundreds of its militants and prevented them from carrying out major attacks.
And officials say rank-and-file LeJ members were among the first Pakistani militants to travel to Syria after IS announced its so-called Caliphate.
(WION with inputs from AFP)