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Pakistan authorities arrest two over Bhutto plot

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080119/ts_nm/pakistan_bhutto_dc;_ylt=ArI.x_2ltuQ3kTIrd9ggOO2s0NUE Pakistan authorities arrest two over Bhutto plot 50 minutes ago
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 19, 2008
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080119/ts_nm/pakistan_bhutto_dc;_ylt=ArI.x_2ltuQ3kTIrd9ggOO2s0NUE

      Pakistan authorities arrest two over Bhutto plot

      50 minutes ago

      PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani security
      agents have arrested a youth who said he had been
      trained as a suicide bomber to kill opposition leader
      Benazir Bhutto had other militants failed to kill her,
      in the first arrests in the case, a security official
      said.

      The 15-year-old and his militant "handler" were
      arrested in the northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan
      on Thursday night.

      The teenager, identified as Aitezaz Shah, told
      interrogators he would have been "next in line" to
      kill Bhutto if another team had failed on December 27,
      the security official said on Saturday.

      Former prime minister Bhutto was killed in a gun and
      bomb attack as she left an election rally in the city
      of Rawalpindi on December 27.

      The youth told interrogators he prepared for his
      mission in a stronghold of al Qaeda-linked militant
      leader Baitullah Mehsud in the South Waziristan region
      on the Afghan border, said the official who declined
      to be identified.

      The official said the "handler," identified as Sher
      Zaman, was the more important catch. "He is the real
      catch who can give us more clues," the official said.

      The government said Mehsud was behind Bhutto's
      killing. CIA Director Michael Hayden, in an interview
      with the Washington Post published on Friday, blamed
      Mehsud for Bhutto's killing.

      Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz and his ministry's
      spokesman said they had no information about the
      arrest of the two.

      The security official said Shah came from another
      northwestern district, Mansehra, but had been brought
      up in the southern city of Karachi.

      Shah had told his interrogators a Muslim cleric sent
      him to South Waziristan where he lived in Makeen, a
      Mehsud stronghold.

      Earlier, security officials said the youth had been
      arrested in Dera Ismail Khan while on his way to
      Karachi to attack Shi'ite Muslim processions.

      The first security official said Shah was not in
      Rawalpindi when Bhutto was killed.

      Mehsud has been blamed for a string of recent attacks,
      most on security forces, that has compounded a sense
      of crisis in the nuclear-armed country as President
      Pervez Musharraf has struggled to hold on to power in
      the face of protests from opponents.

      A spokesman of Mehsud, Maulvi Omar, said he had no
      link with the youth. Omar again denied that Mehsud was
      involved in Bhutto's murder.

      (Writing by Augustine Anthony; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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