Don't blame me, says militant who threatened Bhutto

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MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, Oct 19 (Reuters) A well-known Pakistani Taliban commander, said to have issued assassination threats against Benazir Bhutto earlier this month, denied any involvement today in an attack that killed 133 people in Karachi.

''I had nothing to do with it,'' Baitullah Mehsud told Reuters by satellite phone from an undisclosed location about the attack on Bhutto's motorcade as it edged through hundreds of thousands of supporters gathered to welcome her from years of exile.

Mehsud, who operates in Waziristan, a tribal region on the border with Afghanistan that has become a centre of al Qaeda and Taliban activity, had been widely reported as issuing threats against Bhutto after she announced plans to return to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile.

His fighters are currently holding more than 200 Pakistani soldiers hostage, having captured them in late August.

Another Waziristan Taliban commander named Haji Omar also spoke this week of the Taliban's intention to kill both Bhutto and President Pervez Musharraf because of their support for the US-led war on terrorism and deployment of American troops in Afghanistan.

REUTERS ARB PM1745

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