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Musharraf Suspends Four Police Officers Over Attack - 2002-03-19

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has suspended four senior police officers after Sunday's grenade attack on a Protestant church in the Pakistani capital that killed five people, including two Americans.

The Pakistani leader took the decision at a high-level meeting that was summoned to review the law and order situation following the church attack. An official statement saID President Musharraf has suspended Inspector General and senior superintendent of Islamabad police over the security lapse.

According to eyewitnesses, an unknown man entered the church in a diplomatic area of the city and threw grenades at about 70 foreign worshipers during a Sunday service.

The attack killed five people, including the wife and teenage daughter of an American diplomat. Bodies of a Pakistani and an Afghan national have been identified. But the fifth one is mutilated beyond recognition. Police believe it may belong to the attacker because no one among the congregation has been reported missing.

The Pakistani government is seeking help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify the body.

The church attack has prompted the United States to issue a fresh warning to Americans against traveling to Pakistan. No group has claimed responsibility for the "terrorist act."

Pakistani President Musharraf's support for the U.S.-led war against terrorism and his crackdown on extremist groups at home has earned him hostility from Islamic militants. It is widely believed that the outraged lay behind Sunday's grenade attack on the Protestant International Church, which is mostly attended by members of the diplomatic community in the capital city.

Assistant Secretary of State Christian Rocca and the U.S. commander of all coalition forces in Afghanistan, General Tommy Franks briefly met President Musharraf on Tuesday. An official statement saID during the meeting the Pakistani leader reaffirmed to the United States his government's resolve to fight terrorism.