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Pakistani President Says Suicide Bombers Among Red Mosque Members


Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says there are suicide bombers among members of a radical mosque in the capital Islamabad, and that many of them are ready to carry out attacks.

General Musharraf told a seminar of journalists that members of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a banned militant group with links to al-Qaida, were also in the mosque.

Pakistani authorities have been in a months-long standoff with clerics and students associated with Lal Masjid -- or the Red Mosque. Mosque members recently kidnapped and briefly held police officers and alleged prostitutes as part of an effort to impose strict Islamic law in Pakistan.

General Musharraf said security forces were ready to take action against the mosque, saying he was not "a coward." However, he warned the situation was delicate -- pointing out that members of the mosque have explosives and are ready to stage suicide attacks.

President Musharraf said he would address the nation next week on measures to combat extremism in Pakistan.

Red Mosque clerics have in the past threatened suicide bombings if the Pakistani government attempts to use force against them.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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