Authorities in Pakistan have identified Rashid Rauf as one of the seven people arrested in connection with a plot to bomb as many as ten passenger planes en route to the United States from Britain. Rauf is reportedly affiliated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a terrorist group Pakistani officials say is linked to al-Qaida. His brother, Tayib, is one of more than twenty suspects arrested by British authorities. Tasnim Aslam, spokeswoman for the Pakistan Foreign Ministry, commented on the arrests:
"These are the results of active cooperation over a period of time between Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States."
“Pakistan played a very important role in uncovering and breaking this international terrorist network,” Ms. Aslam said. In its latest report on terrorism, the U.S. State Department says the government of Pakistan has, “continued to pursue al-Qaida, the Taleban, and their allies.” Earlier this month, Pakistan hung Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist Hafiz Shafiq ur al-Rehman for the 1997 murder of a Pakistani Shia Muslim political leader.
The State Department report says Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is an offshoot of the Sunni Muslim extremist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s acts of terror include the attempted murder of former Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and the bombings of Shiite mosques.
President George W. Bush says the arrests of those involved in the conspiracy to bomb U.S.-bound airliners, “were the culmination of hard work, cooperation, and information-sharing across different agencies and different governments”:
"America is fighting a tough war against an enemy whose ruthlessness is clear for all to see. The terrorists attempt to bring down airplanes full of innocent men, women, and children. They kill civilians and American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they deliberately hide behind civilians in Lebanon. They are seeking to spread their totalitarian ideology. They’re seeking to take over countries like Afghanistan and Iraq so they can establish safe havens from which to attack free nations."
President Bush says, “these killers need to know that America, Great Britain, and our allies are determined to defend ourselves and advance the cause of liberty.”
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.