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 Saturday, 21 December, 2002, 16:37 GMT
Pakistan bus blast kills one
Sindh police arrest suspected militants
The blast followed the arrest of militants
One man has been killed and at least eight others injured in a bus bomb explosion in the southern Pakistan city of Hyderabad.

The condition of three of the injured is said to be critical and doctors are trying to save their lives.

We have launched investigations

Raouf Yusufzai
Police official

Police say the bomb went off when the bus was passing through the centre of the city, about 150 kilometres north of Karachi.

No one has admitted causing the blast.

Police say it is too early to link it to the recent arrest of several Muslim militants across the country.

The latest - four militants alleged to have been planning suicide attacks - were arrested in Karachi, police said on Saturday.

A senior police official said the suspects - members of an outlawed militant Islamic group, Jaish-e-Mohammad - were armed with grenades and were on their way to blow up a bridge when they were detained.

'Crude device'

Bomb disposal squad officials say the Hyderabad explosion was caused by a crude device weighing at least half a kilogram.

It was placed under a seat and detonated using a timer device.

An Assistant Inspector General of Police, Raouf Yusufzai, described the blast as an act of terrorism.

We swiftly took action when we received our information and were able to arrest all four terrorists

Shafi Rind, police spokesman

"We have launched investigations," he was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

Last month, an explosion in a bus in Hyderabad killed three people.

Both Hyderabad and Karachi have seen a large number of violent incidents over the past year, including several fatal bomb attacks.

Arrests

The four men arrested on Saturday were ordered to be held without bail by a court in Karachi while an investigation is carried out.

Police said they acted on a tip-off.

"We swiftly took action when we received our information and were able to arrest all four terrorists with three hand grenades," said police spokesman Shafi Rind.

The men - all Pakistanis - were reportedly arrested on their way to a busy street in eastern Karachi.

The suspects told interrogators they were recruited in November by two unidentified Arab men with links to al-Qaeda, police said.

"These Arabs explained to us about the suffering of Palestinians and asked us to join the mission," one of the suspects was quoted as telling police.

The suspect said two Pakistani go-betweens helped him buy 14 hand grenades, police said.

The militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad was banned by Pakistan last January and declared a terrorist organisation by the United States.

The group is believed to have been behind an attack on the Indian parliament in Delhi last December and it has been linked to the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in January.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad
"Police believe it was exploded by a timing device"
See also:

21 Dec 02 | South Asia
16 Dec 02 | South Asia
17 Nov 02 | South Asia
15 Nov 02 | South Asia
31 Oct 02 | South Asia
16 Oct 02 | South Asia
14 Nov 02 | Country profiles
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