Saturday, May 22, 2010
At least six suspects, wanted in connection with a failed car bomb attempt in Times Square, New York City on May 1, have been arrested by authorities in Pakistan. The arrests follow a visit to Pakistan by two high-ranking American security officials—US National Security Adviser Gen James Jones and Leon Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of whom praised Pakistan for its efforts in tracking down suspects in the bomb attack.
Amongst those arrested are the co-owner of a large company which provides catering to several embassies in Pakistan and a major in the Pakistani Army, though the Army released a statement denying any involvment. Some are believed to have been educated in the United States. A notice on the website of the US embassy in Islamabad reported that the catering company co-owned by one of the suspects had links to terrorism and has since advised US citizens against using the firm.
Those arrested are believed to have had links with Faisal Shahzad, the primary suspect in the bombing, who was arrested on May 3 on board an aircraft at New York’s JFK Airport.
One source told Reuters: “We are investigating whether Ashraf has provided any financial support to Faisal because Ashraf and his father are rich people and they run a very big catering business” though another stated that “[t]hey may be innocent because being friends does not mean you are involved in the activities of your friends”.
The suspects are currently being detained by the Pakistani security services, who are known to have close links with the CIA, to the extent of allowing CIA officials access to prisoners.