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Pakistan Arrests 12 Suspected Terrorists - 2002-08-28

Authorities in Pakistan are said to have arrested 12 members of an outlawed Islamic organization linked to the al-Qaida terror network.

News reports say intelligence officers captured the suspected militants at their hideout during a raid Tuesday in the border city of Peshawar.

The reports quote an unnamed Pakistani official as saying the men appeared to be planning terrorist attacks. Weapons and explosives were also reportedly seized.

All of the detainees are said to be members of an Islamic group, Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, which Pakistan outlawed earlier this year. Some reports suggest foreign nationals are among those arrested, but their identities are not disclosed.

The Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Mujahideen is mostly active in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. The United States has declared it a terrorist group for maintaining close ties to al-Qaida.

Pakistani authorities last month arrested three senior members of the group for planning a deadly car bomb attack on the American consulate in the southern city of Karachi. At least 12 Pakistanis were killed in that attack.

Pakistan's support of the U.S.-led war against terrorism and a nationwide crackdown on extremism have outraged many hardline Islamic groups in the country. Authorities blame these extremist forces for recent deadly attacks on Christians and Western targets in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, senior police officials told reporters in Karachi they have received "credible information" about a possible attack on September 11 - the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. They say security has been increased to prevent such attempts.