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Bush Praises Pakistan For al-Qaida Arrests


President Bush is praising Pakistan for the arrest of six suspected members of the al-Qaida terrorist network. He spoke during a meeting at the White House with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

President Bush says the war on terrorism will be won and he points with some pride to the steps taken by the governments of Pakistan and Colombia.

He met with Colombia's leader one day after the Pakistan government arrested six suspected terrorists in a raid in the port city of Karachi. Among them was a key suspect in the bombing of an American warship in Yemen.

"He is one last person that people who love freedom have to worry about," he said.

The suspect has been identified as Waleed Mohammmad Bin Attash. In addition to the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, he is also believed to have links to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. "He is a killer. He was one of the top al-Qaida operatives," he said.

The president thanked those who took part in the raids, saying Pakistan is taking courageous action to combat terrorism. He said this arrest was a significant find. But he warned the war on terrorism is far from over.

"And the war goes on. It takes a while. We must be patient and strong and diligent and focused," he said.

Colombia's president nodded in agreement. Alvaro Uribe vowed to stand strong against those who threaten innocent civilians anywhere. "Colombia has suffered terrorism for a long time. Thus Colombia understands the need to fight terrorism in our country and in any other country," he said.

President Bush said the United States remains a friend and supporter of the Colombian people as they take on difficult tasks. He said President Uribe is committed to fighting terror and has shown courage in targeting illegal armed groups in his country.

Colombia is mired in a decades long civil war in which leftist rebels are fighting rightist paramilitary groups and the government in Bogota. The conflict claims thousands of lives each year.

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