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Pakistan Arrests 8 Militants Suspected of Planting Rockets


Pakistan says it has arrested eight militants suspected of planting explosive devices at three security points in and around Islamabad this month.

Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao says the detainees are members of a local outlawed militant Islamic group, suspected of links with the al-Qaida terror network.

Speaking at a news conference in Islamabad Friday, he said intelligence agents have also recovered weapons, ammunition and explosives from the suspects.

He said, "Investigations are in progress [and] indications are they are linked with al-Qaida."

The minister refused to identify the suspects, or give further details, saying this will undermine the process of investigation.

Last week, a small, improvised explosive device went off in a park near President Pervez Musharraf's army residence in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, bordering Islamabad.

The next day, police found two Russian-made anti-tank shells hooked up to mobile phones in a patch of green, across a road from parliament and the president's offices in the capital city.

A couple of days later, authorities found two more rockets planted not far from the headquarters of Pakistan's military intelligence. Nobody was hurt in either incident.

Minister Sherpao says the planned terror acts were meant to create chaos and unrest. He says it is not clear weather President Musharraf was the target.

The Pakistani president told reporters earlier this week that he might have been the target of these terror plots. Since joining the U.S-led war against terrorism in 2001, Musharraf has survived at least three known al Qaida-inspired assassination attempts.