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Pakistan Arrests 5 Suspected Members of Banned Islamic Militant Group - 2003-06-23


Pakistani police have arrested five suspected members of an Islamic militant group blamed for recent attacks on the country's Shiite Muslims, Westerners and Christians.

A police spokesman today said the five men belong to the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi organization and were picked up during recent raids in the central city of Multan, some 600 kilometers south of Islamabad.

The spokesman identified two of them as senior group members Abdul Majeed and Shahabuddin, who were among the most wanted terrorist suspects in Pakistan. He said the men were planning new attacks in Pakistan, possibly targeting Shiite Muslims in Punjab province.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has been blamed for last year's car bombing that killed 14 people in Karachi, including 11 French engineers. The group has also been blamed for last year's kidnap and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and the killing of 17 Christians in October of 2001.

Pakistan says the group was tied to Afghanistan's ousted Taleban militia. Authorities banned the organization last year following a crackdown on militant Islamic groups.

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