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Man Held in Pakistan Bomb Plot

Crime: Member of Al Qaeda-linked group is accused in fatal attack at a U.S. Consulate.

July 25, 2002|From Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan — A member of an extremist group linked to Al Qaeda was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of financing and planning a June car bombing at the U.S. Consulate here that killed 12 Pakistanis, officials said.

Police and Interior Ministry officials, speaking anonymously, identified the suspect as Mohammed Ashraf, treasurer of the Harkat-ul-Moujahedeen al-Almi, whose two leaders were arrested this month and who police say confessed to roles in the June 14 attack.

The group and its leaders also are suspected in a suicide bombing May 8 at the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi. Eleven French engineers and three others, including the bomber, were killed in that attack.

Ashraf was among the group that planned the consulate attack, police said. "Ashraf also provided money for the purchase of explosive material to carry out the attack on [the] U.S. Consulate in Karachi," an Interior Ministry official said in Islamabad, the capital.

Ashraf also confessed his role in scores of terrorist acts, including a February rocket attack on the Karachi airport, police said.

The state-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan reported that Ashraf disclosed names of other group members involved in planning the attack. They included Mohammed Imran, chief of Harkat-ul-Moujahedeen al-Almi, and Mohammed Hanif, both of whom were arrested this month.

Imran and Hanif also allegedly conspired to kill President Gen. Pervez Musharraf during his April visit to Karachi.

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