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Headley link: 5 Pak army officers held

world Updated: Nov 25, 2009 03:21 IST
Five Pakistan

Five Pakistani army officers have been detained for questioning over possible links to two US terror suspects accused of plotting an armed attack on a Danish newspaper, intelligence officials said on Tuesday.

The detentions underscore long-standing allegations that elements in Pakistan support a militant group known as Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, which is devoted to fighting the country’s arch enemy, India. The group is blamed for last year’s terror attacks in Mumbai and other strikes in India in recent years.

Last month’s arrests of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana in Chicago have cast a fresh spotlight on the group. US prosecutors said the two men were believed to be working with an unidentified senior member of the outfit and a senior al-Qaeda operative.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking anonymously because they are not allowed to release their identity, said phone records showed the five Pakistani officers had contacted Headley and Rana.

They say the five include a retired brigadier general and two active lieutenant colonels, but did not provide more details. Pakistani military officials could not immediately be reached for confirmation.

The FBI says Headley traveled to Pakistan this year and may have been headed there when he was arrested Oct. 3 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport en route to Philadelphia.

Indian officials say Headley also may have been involved in planning the Mumbai terror attack, which occurred a year ago Thursday.

Headley, 49, and Rana, 48, are accused of plotting to kill one of the editors and a cartoonist at Danish paper Jyllands-Posten for publishing 12 cartoons in 2005 depicting the Prophet Muhammad, which ignited outrage in much of the Muslim world. AP