Pakistani Police: 13 Militants Arrested, Terror Plots Foiled
By VOA News
24 August 2009
Pakistani police say they thwarted multiple terror plots by arresting 13 militants with links to al-Qaida or the Taliban during raids in southern and eastern Pakistan.
Police said Monday they seized seven men, suicide vests and explosives during a raid in the southern city of Karachi. Authorities said the men belong to the banned al-Qaida-linked Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
The group has previously been suspected of plotting to assassinate government officials, as well as masterminding last year's bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and the bombing of a Shi'ite mosque in 2003.
And police in eastern Pakistan say they captured six suspected Taliban militants in Punjab province. Senior police officer Usman Anwar says the suspected militants had planned to attack foreign targets and places of worship.
Authorities in both cases say the arrests foiled militants' plans to stage terror attacks.
In other news, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik says the Taliban may have killed relatives of Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, on suspicion that they leaked information about the wanted militant's whereabouts.
Malik says intelligence reports indicate that Pakistan's Taliban movement, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, kidnapped and killed Mehsud's father-in-law and other family members.
U.S. and Pakistani officials say they believe Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone attack on August 5. But Taliban spokesmen have repeatedly denied his death.
In related news, a commander of the Pakistani Taliban announced Saturday that the militant group has chosen Hakimullah Mehsud, 28, as its new leader.
The commander, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, said a Taliban council appointed a new leader because Baitullah Mehsud is too sick to carry out his duties.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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