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Pakistan Arrests at Least 10 in Plot on Capital - 2004-08-21

Pakistan has arrested least ten suspected terrorists planning attacks on key government buildings as well as the U.S. Embassy.

Speaking to reporters late Saturday, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the suspects were part of a terrorist ring planning to kill hundreds in the capital Islamabad during a weeklong span earlier this month. "They wanted to start from [August 13 to 21] - a full week of blood. They had divided the city into different sections and people had to take action on that day at that place," he said.

He said the targets included the presidential palace, the prime minister's residence, the U.S. Embassy and other locations around the capital, as well as Army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

On Pakistan's National Day, August 14, U.S. Embassy security had warned its staff to avoid traveling in the city, suggesting there was evidence of the plot at that time.

Mr.Ahmed said Egytian nationals were also involved in the plot.

An allegedly Egyptian group calling itself the Islambouli Brigrade of al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for a failed suicide attack on Pakistan's Prime Minister designate Shaukat Aziz last month.

Pakistani officials say information from recent arrests of alleged al-Qaida operatives has provided intelligence that will likely lead to further al-Qaida arrests in the coming weeks.