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 Saturday, 21 December, 2002, 17:33 GMT
'Key Pakistan militant' dead
Suspected militants with heads covered under police escort in Karachi
Anti-militant operations have proved successful
Police in Pakistan say one of five people killed in an explosion in Karachi on Thursday was the country's most-wanted militant, Asif Ramzi.

Asif Ramzi (file photo)
Asif Ramzi was wanted in many criminal cases
Ramzi was linked to a series of killings of minority Shia Muslims.

He was also wanted for a number of attacks on foreign nationals, including murdered American journalist Daniel Pearl.

In another development, police on Saturday arrested four suspected militants from Karachi, in a raid which is part of a drive to round up extremists.

'Taleban links'

A police investigator in Karachi said Asif Ramzi's mother was taken to the city morgue for the second time in two days.

She has now confirmed that the body of one of the people killed on Thursday is that of her son.

A police investigator in Karachi said they would still like to have DNA tests done for a positive identification.

Investigators sift through Karachi warehouse rubble after explosion
Karachi has seen many militant attacks

Asif Ramzi's body parts were found among those of four other people from the rubble of a warehouse in Karachi.

Police believe they were killed in a powerful blast while preparing explosive devices.

Ramzi was head of a banned militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which had been involved in the killing of Shia Muslims.

Police say in the last couple of years the group had developed close links with the Taleban and most of its members were trained inside Afghanistan.

Police believe Ramzi was also involved in the kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl.

Growing success

He was also wanted in connection with several bomb attacks against local Christians and foreign nationals.

Pakistani security forces have stepped up the drive against suspected militants and have arrested more than 20 people from different parts of the country.

On Saturday, police arrested four members of another banned militant group from Karachi.

The authorities say the suspects were planning to target American nationals.

The BBC's Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad says the recent successes in anti-militant operations have largely been due to the close cooperation of the FBI with Pakistani authorities.

At times, FBI officials themselves have taken part in the raids.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has denied the FBI was involvement in the controversial recent arrest of nine people in Lahore.

On Saturday, he told journalists in that city, "The FBI did not do anything. It was the Pakistan government agencies. I'm saying this in clear words."

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  The BBC's Zaffar Abbas reports from Islamabad
"He was head of a banned Islamic militant group"

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20 Dec 02 | South Asia
25 Oct 02 | Europe
15 Jun 02 | South Asia
06 Jun 02 | South Asia
13 Jan 02 | South Asia
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