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Pakistan arrests 97 al-Qaeda and other militants; foils planned jailbreak

ISLAMABAD, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Pakistan has arrested 97 al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants, including three commanders, in the southern port city of Karachi, and foiled a planned attack that would have broken Daniel Pearl’s killer out of jail, the military said.

The LeJ’s Naeem Bokhari and Sabir Khan, as well as Farooq Bhatti, deputy chief of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), were captured by Pakistani forces in recent raids, Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa told a press conference on Friday.

The 97 men had been involved in multiple major attacks on Pakistani air bases, a major airport and police installations, Bajwa said.

Several of those arrested, including Bokhari, were in the advanced stages of planning a jailbreak attempt on the Hyderabad Central Jail, Bajwa said.

Khalid Omar Sheikh, who kidnapped and killed the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Pearl in 2002, is being held at that jail and was to be released during the raid, he said.

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