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Fugitive Jihadi leader's arrest sought

Jan. 7, 2010 at 1:05 AM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. officials have asked Pakistan to arrest a fugitive Jihadi group leader in the deaths of seven CIA agents in Afghanistan, a Pakistani newspaper says.

The officials want an early arrest and extradition of Ilyas Kashmiri, the fugitive commander of the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami chapter in the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir province, the News International reported. He is accused of coordinating the Dec. 31 attack on the CIA's Forward Operating Base of Chapman in Afghanistan's Khost province, the report said.

While a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the Khost attack, the report quoted diplomatic sources in Islamabad considered close to U.S. intelligence as saying investigations showed the attack was planned in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area.

The report said the suicide bomber is believed to have been dispatched by Kashmiri, who had earlier been reported killed in a U.S. drone attack. The News reported Kashmiri reappeared after three weeks, vowing retribution against the United States.

A senior Pakistan Interior Ministry official was quoted as saying authorities are trying to hunt down Kashmiri for involvement in several other terrorist activities in other areas of Pakistan. The official said Kashmiri is No. 4 on the ministry's most wanted list.

Kashmiri was described as a veteran of the Kashmir Jihad who spent several years in a jail in neighboring India. In 2003, he was arrested in the twin suicide attacks on the motorcade of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf but was later released for lack of evidence.

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