Karachi: The search for links between the
suspected Times Square bomber and various militant groups in
Pakistan led investigators to the sprawling, marble-floored
Bathha Mosque and religious school in a northern suburb of
US and Pakistani authorities are trying to trace the
movements of the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, during his recent
five-month stay in Pakistan. They are seeking to establish
whether he connected with any of the myriad Islamic terrorist
groups and received instructions, funding or training.
Shahzad faces terrorism and weapons charges in New
York after authorities said he admitted rigging a sport
utility vehicle with a crude bomb of firecrackers, propane and
gasoline based on explosives training he received in Pakistan.
US authorities said they have yet to establish a firm
link between Shahzad and an extremist group.
Early morning prayers had just finished on Tuesday
when authorities detained Mohammed Rehan as he left the Bathha
The compound surrounded by 10-foot (three-meter) walls
concealing a multistoried madrassa is run by the militant
group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is affiliated with al-Qaida.
"They arrested him after dawn prayers at the corner.
They were waiting," said Alamgir, a witness who spoke to The
Associated Press outside the mosque.
Another security official told the AP that Masood
Azhar, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, had come first to the
Bathha mosque after being freed from an Indian jail in 1999 in
exchange for an Indian Airlines plane hijacked to southern
Afghanistan, where the Taliban were then headquartered.
Three other people, also with suspected ties to
Jaish-e-Mohammed, were picked up elsewhere in this teeming
port city of 16 million people, according to Pakistani
officials who spoke on condition they not be identified
because they were not authorised to release information to the
One official said the men were being held at a
"safe house" in Karachi where they were being interrogated by
both US and Pakistani officials. A second official also said
the United States was involved in the interrogation.
Pakistan and the US are close if sometimes uneasy
allies, and CIA officials have been known to question al-Qaida
and other terrorist suspects.
"It`s an open secret that the FBI and CIA has a
direct line to Pakistani intelligence," said one senior
Pakistani security official who spoke on condition of
anonymity because he did not have permission to speak to the