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US to help with probe into bid on Musharraf

K J M Varma in Islamabad | December 22, 2003 19:39 IST

The United States would be sending a team of investigators this week to assist Pakistani security agencies with the probe into the recent attempt on the life of President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

It would examine the bridge blasted using remote-controlled bombs seconds after Musharraf's convoy had passed by on December 14, official sources in Islamabad said. It is located close to the 10 Army Corps headquarters in Rawalpindi.

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Investigations have revealed that the bombs contained 250kg of C-4 plastic explosives and that Musharraf's convoy escaped the blast due to electronic jammers, which delayed the explosions by about a minute.

The attackers appeared to have known the exact time of the arrival of Musharraf's plane from Karachi at the nearby Chaklala military airbase and may probably have even seen his convoy approaching when they set off the bomb.

The ease with which the bombs were placed and exploded despite the high security on the route has raised questions, chiefly about how the attackers knew the precise time when the president would pass by.

Pakistani officials are questioning almost all officials assigned to protect Musharraf and his security setup has reportedly been totally revamped.

Musharraf has blamed the attempt on militant groups, especially the Al Qaeda whose leaders openly threatened him for co-operating with the US in its war against terrorism in Afghanistan as well as in Pakistan.

The US team is expected to assist in analysing crucial clues and re-evaluate Musharraf's security setup in the light of threats from the Al Qaeda as well as local militant groups.

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