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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 06:21 GMT
Kidnapped US reporter is dead
The house of Daniel Pearl's parents in Encino, CA
Not coming home: Pearl's family waited in vain
US journalist Daniel Pearl, who was abducted in Pakistan in January as he tried to meet Islamic militants, has been killed by his captors.


Danny's senseless murder lies beyond our comprehension

Statement issued by Pearl family

Officials in Karachi said that videotape showing scenes of Pearl's murder was received by US and Pakistani officials late on Thursday evening.

US President George W Bush said Americans were "sad and angry" about Pearl's killing and warned that such "barbaric acts" would only strengthen their resolve to fight terrorism.

Daniel Pearl in captivity
The kidnappers had issued ultimatums
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf vowed "to apprehend each and every member of the gang of terrorists involved in this gruesome murder".

The BBC's Susannah Price in Islamabad says that the police will now be under intense pressure to arrest those responsible for the killing the Wall Street Journal reporter as quickly as possible.

A Pakistani source close to the investigation said the video showed Pearl having his throat cut by unseen executioners.

"The scene that apparently confirmed the murder of Pearl was when one person's hand cut the US reporter's neck with a sharp tool," the unnamed source told Reuters news agency, quoting someone who had seen the tape.

Only the hands of the executioners could be seen on the recording.

Arrests

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that the US would work with Pakistan to identify Pearl's kidnappers and bring them to justice.

He commended Pakistan for having made "every effort" to rescue the journalist.

The Pakistani authorities have made four arrests since 38-year-old Pearl went missing on 23 January from Karachi.

The reporter is believed to have been researching possible links between the alleged "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and the al-Qaeda Islamic militant organisation led by Osama Bin Laden.

'Act of barbarism'

The publisher and managing editor of Pearl's paper, the Wall Street Journal, described Pearl's death as "an act of barbarism".

Paul Steiger, Wall Street Journal's managing editor
Steiger: "An outstanding colleague, a great reporter and a dear friend"
Although the contents of the videotape have not been released, one US official said the contents were "very gruesome".

The Washington Post said the video showed Pearl being killed with a knife.

In a joint statement, Wall Street Journal publisher Peter Kann and managing editor Paul Steiger praised Pearl as an "outstanding colleague and great reporter".

Pearl's wife, Mariane, will soon give birth to the couple's first child.

A statement issued by his family said that they believed "no human being would be capable of harming such a gentle soul".

E-mail link

Three of the suspects are accused of sending e-mails with pictures of the journalist in detention, and one of them confessed his guilt to a Karachi court earlier on Thursday.

Sheikh Omar wearing a garland seen in a photo dated 16 November 2000
Sheikh Omar changed his statements frequently
The e-mails, which showed Pearl shackled and threatened with a gun, were sent to various US news organisations along with demands for the US to free al-Qaeda suspects from Pakistan.

Fahad Naseem told the court that he had sent the e-mails on the orders of a British-born Islamic militant, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh - also known as Sheikh Omar - who is in custody in Pakistan.

According to his lawyer, Mr Naseem said he was told by Sheikh Omar two days before the abduction that a "Jew working against Islam" was to be kidnapped and his pictures would have to be distributed by e-mail.

Mr Naseem said he had never actually met the US journalist, his lawyer said.

The last known message from Mr Pearl's apparent captors was sent on 30 January, saying the 38-year-old reporter would be killed in 24 hours.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Paul Welsh
"This is an act of barbarism"
Pearl family spokesman, Gary Foster
"We are shocked and saddened"
Paul Steiger of The Wall Street Journal
"His murder is an act of barbarism"
See also:

06 Feb 02 | South Asia
Suspect named in reporter's kidnap
14 Feb 02 | South Asia
Pakistan disputes reporter death claim
06 Feb 02 | South Asia
In pictures: Daniel Pearl kidnapping
21 Feb 02 | South Asia
Pearl kidnap suspect admits role
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