Pakistan arrests extremist group members suspected in attack

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

MULTAN, Pakistan -- Pakistani police arrested three members of an outlawed Islamic extremist group suspected of involvement in scores of religiously motivated killings in Pakistan, a police official said Tuesday.

Three activists of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group were taken into custody Tuesday in the village of Mailse in southern Punjab Province, Chodhry Iftikhar, deputy inspector general of the Multan police, told The Associated Press.

The three, aged 18 to 26, have all admitted involvement in an October attack on a Catholic church in the southern city of Bahawalpur that killed 17, Iftikhar said.

Iftikhar said three of the eight militants involved in the church attack were still at large.

One was killed in a shoot-out with police earlier this year, and another is already in custody.

The four being held by police are also suspected of involvement in several religious killings of minority Shiite Muslims across the country.

Police said at least one of the four may also have been involved in last July's murder of former Foreign Minister Mohammed Siddque Kanju, who was shot and killed along with another former legislator during an election campaign in Punjab.

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