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Police ID Pearl Killer During Arrest

September 17, 2002

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KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) _ An al-Qaida militant arrested with Sept. 11 organizer Ramzi Binalshibh has been identified as one of the killers of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, a senior police official said Tuesday.

The identification was made by a Pakistani held but not charged in the kidnap-slaying of Pearl, the South Asian correspondent for the Journal, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to the official, the Pakistani, Fazal Karim, was taken to an intelligence agency safe house where 10 suspects, including Binalshibh, were held. Most of them were Yemenis, officials have said.

The official refused to identify the alleged Pearl killer by name but said he was not among the five people, including Binalshibh, who were handed over to U.S. authorities Monday and flown out of the country.

If true, Karim’s statement would be the first evidence that al-Qaida may have been involved in Pearl’s abduction and killing. Pearl was kidnapped in January while investigating links between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, who was arrested in December on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes.

Pearl’s dismembered body was found in May in a shallow grave in Karachi. Police officials have said they were led to the grave by Karim and two others.

It was unclear what impact the revelation would have on the government’s case against four Pakistani militants who were convicted of Pearl’s abduction in July. British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was sentenced to death by hanging and the others received life sentences. All have appealed.

Update hourly