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India says it warned Pakistan of attack

Sept. 23, 2006 at 1:26 PM

MUMBAI, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- India knew of a 2003 assassination attempt on Pakistan's president and warned him two days before it took place, a former Indian defense minister says.

"We were aware that an attack (on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf) was likely," George Fernandes said in Mumbai, formerly Bombay, the Press Trust of India reported.

"We could have kept quiet about it," but the Indians warned Islamabad "as a humanitarian gesture," he said.

Two suicide bombers tried to assassinate Musharraf on Dec. 23, 2003.

Meanwhile, leaders of Pakistan's Islamic political parties threatened to launch new protests against Musharraf following his claim in a CBS News "60 Minutes" interview that former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" if it didn't cooperate in the hunt for terrorists.

U.S. President Bush said Friday he was taken aback when he heard the claim. Armitage denied ever threatening military action if Pakistan refused to join the U.S.-led war on terror after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

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