Pakistani security officials said Thursday they have foiled new terror attacks with the arrest of the head of an al-Qaida-linked extremist group accused of killing scores of minority Shiite Muslims.
"Of course, he was planning attacks, and his arrest means we broke their backbone," a security official said of Asif Chotto, the reputed head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, who was captured this week with seven suspected members of the banned group in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad.
Police have said they believe Chotto trained people to be suicide bombers _ including two sisters arrested in June _ and masterminded major attacks against Shiites in recent years.
Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao has neither confirmed nor denied the arrest. But the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to media, said Chotto was caught last weekend, then led security officials to a home in Rawalpindi where a man identified as Rashid, also known as Shahid Satti, was arrested for possible involvement in anti-Shiite attacks, informs the AP. I.L.