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Pakistan Arrests 3 in US Consulate Bombing - 2002-07-08

Pakistan says it has arrested three men in connection with a series of deadly bomb attacks in the port city of Karachi, including one on the American consulate there. Officials say paramilitary police forces arrested the three Pakistanis during a raid on several houses in Karachi. They say the accused are members of a little-known militant group, called Harkat-ul-Mujahideen al-Alami.

The head of the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers, Major-General Salahuddin, says the leader of the group is among the detainees. "On a tip off and spy information, we were able to nab three main culprits who were involved in this [U.S.] consulate bombing," he said. "These individuals have given clearance, or in knowledge, or have articipated in various acts of terrorism in Karachi, in which a lot of people were injured and some lost their lives. We have also been able to recover a huge quantity of arms, ammunition, explosives [and] detonators from their possession."

General Salahuddin says the suspects are also linked to a foiled assassination attempt on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf earlier this year, and to attacks on Western targets such as McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi took place on June 14. Twelve Pakistanis were killed and more than 50 others injured. Agents of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation have been helping local authorities in the investigation.

Pakistani officials believe that a number of recent bomb attacks against foreigners could be the result of Pakistan's close cooperation with the United States in its war against terrorism.

Many Islamic groups have publicly condemned President Musharraf for facilitating U.S. military operations against Taleban and al-Qaida operatives in neighboring Afghanistan.