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The World

April 4, 2011

Captured bomber in Pakistan vows attacks

MULTAN, Pakistan — His accomplices brought carnage to a Sufi shrine, but the 14-year-old suicide bomber who was captured after his explosives failed to detonate was unrepentant.

"Let me go, I want to be a martyr," he said as he was being led away, according to police officer Khalid Mahmood. "I want to send all you policemen to hell!"

The boy, identified as Fida Hussain, was arrested at the shrine in central Pakistan shortly after Sunday's twin suicide blasts, which killed 42 people and wounded 100 others. The complex close to Dera Ghazi Khan in central Pakistan was crowded with thousands of people attending an annual festival.

Another suspect was also detained at the shrine, but police gave no details about him.

On Monday, a suicide bomber struck again, killing seven people at a bus station in the northwestern region of Lower Dir, said police officer Salim Marwat. One of the dead was a tribal elder who was regarding as pro-government, and as such was the likely target, he said.

Information from the pair detained at the shrine could provide clues about the network behind the blasts.

The shrine was targeted because Islamist extremists regard the veneration of Sufi saints — a much loved and widespread practice in Pakistan — as un-Islamic.

Mahmood said both boys were apparently from North Waziristan, one of seven tribally administered areas close to Afghanistan. All those areas are militant hotspots, but North Waziristan is considered especially so. It is under virtual militant control and is home to extremists from around Pakistan and the world.

Young boys, often with little or no education, are often used by the Taliban as suicide bombers. As well as being less suspicious, terrorism analyst say their handlers find it easier to persuade them to carry out suicide missions.

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