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Pakistani Postal Clerks Questioned

October 17, 2002

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KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) _ Authorities are questioning eight post office employees about a series of parcel bombs that exploded in quick succession in Karachi, injuring nine people, police and postal officials said Thursday.

Police hope the men will be able to give descriptions of the people who posted the packages, said the head of Karachi police’s investigations department, Fayyaz Leghari. The small bombs went off at two police stations and a government office on Wednesday.

One of the postal employees being questioned was injured when the parcel went off in a senior police official’s office.

Leghari said the parcels were posted from Karachi’s southern Saddar and central Azizabad districts. The seven other postal employees being questioned were working behind the counter at post offices when the parcel bombs were mailed.

At least one of the packages had ``From Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal,″ written on it, a reference to the United Action Front, a coalition of anti-American religious parties that made unprecedented gains in last week’s national elections.

Authorities said, however, that they had no reason to believe the coalition was actually behind the attacks, and the group denied responsibility.

E-mails claiming responsibility on behalf of a militant Muslim group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were later received by a Pakistani daily newspaper and a local news agency.

The e-mails said 35 packages containing 5 ounces of explosives each had been mailed from three different post offices. Four went off and six others were defused. It was not clear what happened to the others, or if they were ever sent.

The e-mail said the bombs were ``a warning to those police officers involved in operations against ‘Mujahedeen’ (holy warriors) at the behest of the Americans.″

It said guerrilla operations would soon start against ``anti-Islam police officers and other infidels.″ Other Muslims are planning a mass attack on the United States, it said.

Police said the e-mails claiming responsibility for the parcel bombs appeared authentic.

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