Daniel Pearl’s Kidnapper Killed in Shootout
Paramilitary police killed a suspected top al Qaeda operative, wanted for alleged involvement in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, during a four-hour shootout Sunday at a southern Pakistan house, the information minister said. Two other men were arrested. Amjad Hussain Farooqi was wanted for his alleged role in the kidnapping and beheading of reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 and two assassination attempts against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in December 2003. “I as chief spokesman for the government of Pakistan confirm that our forces have killed Amjad Hussain Farooqi,” Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told The Associated Press by phone from Amsterdam, where he has gone on an official trip with Musharraf.
Ahmed said “two or three other people were also arrested during a big gunfight.” He declined to identify them but said they were still being questioned by authorities and were “very important.” “This is the work of our security agencies, and they have done a great job,” Ahmed said. An intelligence official in Karachi identified the arrested men as Abdul Rehman and Yaqoob Farooqi. It was not clear what relation, if any, Yaqoob Farooqi had to Amjad Hussain Farooqi. Other officials could not immediately confirm that information.
Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war against terrorism and has arrested more than 600 al Qaeda suspects, including several senior figures in the terror network. Many of them have been handed over to U.S. authorities. Since mid-July, Pakistan says it has arrested at least 70 terrorist suspects, including Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, an alleged al-Qaida computer expert, and Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in east Africa that killed more than 200 people.
Earlier Sunday, intelligence officials said authorities launched a raid on the house in Nawabshah, a town about 125 miles northeast of the main southern city of Karachi, after police received a tip that Farooqi was hiding there. Two men who tried to flee — one of whom was injured in the gunbattle — were arrested, said local police official Ismail Jamali, adding that intelligence officials led them away in blindfolds. The official said the suspect who was killed — presumably Amjad Hussain Farooqi — had shouted in Urdu, the main language in Pakistan, that he’d prefer death to capture. The suspect also pointed to the sky and shouted: “I fulfilled my promise to Allah,” he said.
A classic win-win scenario.