Teenager suspect arrested in Bhutto assassination


Islamabad : Security agencies in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province have arrested a teenaged boy on suspicion of involvement in the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

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Aitezaz Shah, 15, was arrested on Thursday in Dera Ismail Khan town in the NWFP, 280 km southwest of Islamabad, security sources told Al Jazeera Saturday.

Shah, who hails from Karachi, told investigators that he was part of a squad of five suicide bombers sent by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud to assassinate Bhutto in Rawalpindi, the sources said.

Shah said two of the attackers, Akram and Bilal, were to target Bhutto first. If they failed, the other three were to carry out the operation.

He said Bilal killed Bhutto by shooting her and detonating an explosive vest as she was leaving an election rally on December 27. The blast killed nearly 30 others and wounded dozens more.

The whereabouts of the two other members of the suicide squad are unknown, the sources said. Shah returned to the NWFP after the operation against Bhutto and was assigned to carry out a suicide attack on an unspecified foreign consulate in Karachi, Al Jazeera reported.

However, interior ministry spokesman Jawed Iqbal Cheema told reporters he had no information about any arrests in Dera Ismail Khan or of any new development in the probe into Bhutto’s assassination.