7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
World News

Poll terror plot is foiled

KARACHI: Pakistani officials said yesterday that a key Al Qaeda-linked militant captured in a shootout in Karachi planned to launch terrorist attacks on rallies for next month's elections.Police quizzed Qasim Toori, the militant who was captured after a bloody shootout, saying they had averted a major terrorist attack in Karachi.

Toori, a wanted member of the extremist group Jundullah, was wounded and arrested after a raid on his hideout in the port city on Tuesday. He was hit in the foot and arrested after a gun battle.

The province's top security official said that some members of the Jundullah cell were still at large and were being hunted by security forces.

"This very group intended to attack election rallies and put the whole election process into jeopardy in the province," the official said.

Members of Jundullah were trained in camps run by Al Qaeda in South Waziristan, the alleged stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, who is accused by Pakistan and the US of masterminding the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

Militants were "planning a big attack in the city as is evident from the C4 plastic explosives and arms seized during the raid," police said.

Police recovered a "ready-to-use" suicide jacket packed with 21kg of explosives, ammunition, a large number of weapons and two launchers.

"With the arrest and killing of these terrorists we have saved Karachi from a major disaster," police said.

Toori and another arrested militant were wanted in the June 2004 gun attack on Karachi Corps Commander General Ahsan Saleem Hayat, which left 11 people dead. The two were also sought for the bomb attack last month outside the Pakistan American Cultural Center in Karachi in which a guard died.

An earlier interior ministry announcement that Toori was among the dead was incorrect, according to the ministry.

"Qasim Toori is alive. He is in our custody and facing serious charges," a ministry

statement said.

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