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Pakistani Authorities Continue to Question 15 Islamic Students

Authorities in Pakistan are still questioning 15 Southeast Asian Islamic students, who were detained in the southern city of Karachi. Pakistani officials suspect the men have links with terrorist groups. There are two Indonesian nationals among the detainees, and reports say one of them is a brother of a regional terrorist suspect.

Pakistani officials arrested the suspects in a raid in Karachi on Saturday. They allege the 15 men were involved in activities damaging to Pakistan's interests. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Masood Khan told reporters in the Pakistani capital Monday that investigators are still interrogating the suspects, who were students at an Islamic school.

"These are suspected terrorists, or people who have links with terrorists," asserted Mr. Kahn. "No final determination has been made. Investigations are underway, so it is not proper to jump to conclusions. The arrests were made in pursuance of our aim to interdict terrorists."

Some news reports say Rusman Gunawan, the younger brother of Asia's most wanted man, Riduan Isamuddin, who is also known as Hambali, is among those detained in Karachi. But Mr. Khan says authorities have yet to determine the identity of the Indonesian suspects.

"I have seen the newspaper reports that one of the arrested suspects is a brother of Hambali. [But] this determination has not yet been made," he said.

Hambali is thought to be the operational leader of the al-Qaida linked Southeast Asian terror network, Jemaah Islamiyah. He also is considered to be al-Qaida's top operative in Southeast Asia. He was captured in Thailand last month and is in U.S. custody.

Pakistani officials have said that the two Indonesians and 13 Malaysians would be deported to their home countries at the request of their governments.

Pakistan is considered a key ally in the U.S.-led anti-terrorism war and has captured more than 500 suspects linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network in the past nearly two years. Most of them are now in American custody.