Pakistan Arrests 6 Islamic Militants
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MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) _ Pakistani police raided Islamic militant hide-outs Friday, seizing bomb-making materials and arresting six suspects.
The men admitted being members of Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, outlawed groups suspected in attacks against Christians and Shiite Muslims, police officer Tariq Masood Yasin said.
Police confiscated 30 pounds of explosive powder and 42 detonators during raids on homes in Jhang in Punjab province, 280 miles south of Islamabad. Those detained were identified as Raza Kandrana, Ameer Hamza, Tahir Abdullah, Mohammed Farooq, Mohammed Yasin, Falak Sher Bhatti.
Several Lashkar-e-Jhangvi supporters have been arrested in attacks on Christian churches. This week, a follower of the group was detained as a suspect in last month’s parcel bombings in Karachi.
Friday’s arrests followed the killing in Lahore of a Shiite doctor. Police said they believed he was slain Friday to incite sectarian strife ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins next week.
Most of Pakistan’s 140 million people are Sunni Muslims and live peacefully with Shiites. In recent years, militant groups have emerged in both sects, and Ramadan has been marked by violence.
Sipah-e-Sahaba, or the Guardians of the Friends of the Prophet, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were among five militant groups outlawed in January by President Pervez Musharraf as he sought to purge the country of religious extremism and terrorism.
Police have blamed Sipah-e-Sahaba for more than 400 killings in the last year.