ISLAMABAD, (Reuters) – Pakistan has detained at least four people suspected of links with a Pakistani-American arrested in the United States this month over a failed bid to set off a car bomb in New York’s Times Square.
One of the four was connected with a catering company which the U.S. embassy in Pakistan said may have terrorist links, a government official said.
The catering company provides services to top-flight functions in the capital, including embassy receptions. “They have been picked up on suspicion that they knew Faisal Shahzad,” one Pakistani security official said, referring to the Pakistani-American arrested over the New York bombing bid.
“We have not yet established whether they were involved in what he did,” said the official. He said four people had been picked up while another security official said said five people had been detained.
The Times Square bomb plot has revived international fears about Pakistan, a U.S. ally in the campaign against militancy, being a breeding ground for Islamist violence.
U.S. prosecutors said Shahzad has admitted to the failed Times Square bomb attack and has been cooperating with investigators since his arrest on May 3.
Prosecutors said Shahzad, who has a wife and two children in Pakistan, had travelled to a Taliban and al Qaeda stronghold in Pakistan to receive bomb-making training.
Despite media reports of detentions in Pakistan in connection with the case, the Pakistani government had consistently denied any arrests.
“We haven’t detained or arrested anyone in this case,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik said earlier on Friday.
A government official said one of the detained suspects was the son of the owner of the catering company, which the embassy said may have terrorists links.