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Pak upbeat after arrests

Karachi, June 14: Pakistani authorities were upbeat after rounding up nine key militants involved in a series of terrorist attacks in Karachi and Quetta.

A day after interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayat announced the arrests of eight alleged foreign al Qaida militants in Karachi, Pakistani troops today claimed to have picked up another terrorist involved in a series of attacks on Shias in the western Balochistan province.

Major General Javed Zia, director general Pakistan Rangers, identified the militant as Daud Badeni, the kingpin of the rabidly anti-Shia militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Zia said in Karachi that Badeni was arrested from the thickly-populated Federal B area of Karachi.

Badeni had been listed as one of Pakistan’s “most wanted terrorists” and was alleged to have masterminded several key attacks in the country, including an ambush on a police bus near Quetta in June 2002 that killed ten recruits, and a suicide bombing at a Shia mosque in the same city in July 2002 that killed 55 worshippers”, Zia said.

Hayat yesterday announced the arrests of eight al Qaida militants in connection with a failed assassination attempt on a senior military officer in Karachi three days ago.

All the arrested militants were foreigners and members of a previously unknown organisation called Jundullah which means Force of God. The outfit is allied with the al Qaida network, Hayat said.

He told reporters that the militants were Uzbeks. “They were trained by foreigners and had definite links with those terrorists with whom the Pakistan army is battling these days in South Waziristan,” Hayat said.

The corps commander Lieutenant General Ahsan Saleem Hayat had narrowly escaped an attack on his motorcade on Thursday, which killed 11 people and wounded 13.

Some analysts have speculated that Thursday’s ambush may have been linked to the ongoing South Waziristan operation.

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