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Suspect in Bhutto's killing identifies suicide bomber: Pak official
January 29, 2008 13:54 IST
A teenaged boy, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, has identified the suicide bomber who blew himself up near her armoured car in Rawalpindi last month, a Pakistani official said.
Fifteen-year-old Aitezaz Shah, who was arrested from Dera Ismail Khan town of the North West Frontier Province, identified the bomber as a man named Bilal who belonged to the South Waziristan tribal region, Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah said.
Bhutto died in a gun and bomb attack after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27. Shah has told the police that he was part of a five-member suicide squad, sent by Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, to kill Bhutto.
Aitezaz Shah and his accomplice Sher Zaman, who was also arrested in Dera Ismail Khan, were brought to Rawalpindi. A court remanded them to police custody till February 1. The police also found material used to make suicide jackets at Zaman's residence.
Interior Secretary Shah told the Daily Times that the boy had identified the suicide bomber during his interrogation. Investigators are verifying the information with Bilal's family and official records in South Waziristan, Shah said.
The teenager reportedly told his interrogators that he had been meeting Baitullah Mehsud, "but this claim was yet to be verified". Zaman has not revealed anything so far, Shah said.
A team of investigators has gone to South Waziristan to meet Bilal's family to get more information about him. Reports said that the investigators had shown a photograph of the suspected bomber to Aitezaz Shah, who identified him as Bilal.
There were also reports that the police had arrested six people in Rawalpindi on the basis of information provided by Aitezaz Shah.
The Interior Secretary also said that all but one of the 23 bodies found at the site of Bhutto's assassination had been identified, and this has given rise to suspicion that the remaining body could be that of the suicide bomber.
Shah added that he was not sure if the man who had fired shots at Bhutto was alive.
President Pervez Musharraf [Images] had blamed Baitullah Mehsud for killing Bhutto, but the charge was denied by a spokesman for the Taliban commander.