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Pakistan busts high-profile terror gang


Agence France-Presse
First Posted 07:27:00 01/30/2009

Filed Under: Acts of terror, Crime and Law and Justice

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani police said Thursday they had arrested a nine-member gang of high-profile militants linked to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and wanted in connection with a string of suicide attacks.

"We have busted a gang of nine high-profile terrorists, who were involved in several high-profile attacks in recent times," said Rao Iqbal, police chief in Rawalpindi -- the twin city of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

A senior police investigator told AFP that the nine alleged militants had links to Al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

"They were involved in five high-profile suicide attacks (in Pakistan)," said the investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

He said the attacks included two bombings outside the Danish embassy and a popular Italian restaurant in Islamabad; an attack on an army medical corps bus and the killing of Pakistan's chief military medical officer in Rawalpindi.

The fifth attack they were wanted in connection with struck police on the first anniversary of the siege of the Red Mosque in Islamabad.

"They were involved in logistics and providing suicide bombers to hit targets," the senior police official said.

He said the gang's ring leader had been identified as Mohammed Illyas, also known as Qari Jamil, a former prisoner at the US-run Guantanamo Bay.

The nine suspects were arrested in Rawalpindi this week when a police intelligence team raided their den, the official said.

Police said the capture marked the highest number of suspected militants arrested in one swoop in Rawalpindi since Pakistan joined the US-led "war on terror" after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

According to senior police officers the gang was linked to Osama al-Kini, Al-Qaeda's top commander in Pakistan, who was killed in a US missile strike earlier this year in South Waziristan.

Iqbal said police recovered 100 kilograms of potassium chloride, 50 detonators and 20 kilograms of ball bearings, which militants pack in suicide vests to maximize carnage.



Copyright 2014 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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