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Pakistan Questions South African Terror Suspects - 2004-08-04


Pakistan is questioning two suspected South African terrorists captured by local police last week, but says it is too early to confirm reports that the men were planning attacks in their home country.

The two South Africans were arrested following a raid in Pakistan's Punjab province, along with Tanzanian terror suspect Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.

Mr. Ghailani, believed to be a key member of the al-Qaida terror network, is wanted in connection with two 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa.

The South African media identifies the two men as Zoubair Ismail and Feroze Ganchi.

The two were reportedly planning attacks on key sites in South Africa, including the Parliament building in Cape Town, Johannesburg's stock exchange and Ellis Park Stadium.

But Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan told VOA Wednesday interrogators have not determined that yet.

"That's exactly what we are trying to establish," he explained. "We have not made this determination yet, but investigations are continuing."

Mr. Khan said that some of the findings from the police interrogation have been passed on to the South African government, and Pakistan is considering requests for access to the two men.

"Some information has already been communicated to the South African government, but so far consular access has not been given," he said.

The two South Africans are believed to have been members of al-Qaida, the group blamed for the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.

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