ISLAMABAD — Pakistan says it has detained a teenage woman recruited by the Islamic State group to carry out a suicide attack against a church on Easter.

Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, an army spokesman, said Monday that 19-year-old Noreen Leghari was detained after a shootout on April 14, the day before Easter, in which another militant was killed.

Pakistan has long sought to downplay the growing presence of Islamic State militants, who have claimed a number of attacks in recent months. This marks the first time Pakistani officials have acknowledged that the extremist group based in Syria and Iraq is recruiting within the South Asian country.

Pakistan has been struggling to combat the much larger and more well-established Pakistani Taliban, which emerged after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and have carried out attacks that have killed tens of thousands of people.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now