06/07/2005, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Two al-Qaeda-linked men arrested in mosque attack

Karachi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pakistani police this morning arrested two men charged with the May 30 Madina-tul-Ilm Shiite mosque attack. According to investigators, the pair—Bilal Farooqi and Muftì Altaf—belong to Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, a militant Islamic group with ties with al-Qaeda.

The group has been involved in several anti-Indian attacks and in repeated attempts to kill Pakistani President, General Pervez Misharraf.

The two militants were arrested in a raid on a house in Karachi's eastern Gulistan-e-Johar districts during which police recovered over 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of explosives, two hand grenades, extremist literature and other material.

Both suspects, who were on a police wanted list, were captured thanks to the confession of another militant who attacked the mosque and survived.

The attacker revealed important information about the group's plan for more suicide attacks.

In the attack in Karachi—the country's main port—at least five people died.

In its wake, people poured into the streets and a few young people burnt down a restaurant belonging to the US Kentucky Fried Chicken fast-food chain causing the death of six employees.

The mob also torched buses and cars as well as two gas stations.

According to local sources, the attack was a response to the murder of Aslam Mujahid, a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami (a party in the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, a coalition of Islamic groups and parties), whose bullet-riddled body was found in his car in the Korangi-Landhi area of Karachi a few hours before the blast.

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