Maulvi Omar captured, admits Baitullah is dead: Mian Iftikhar Hussain

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Islamabad, Aug.18 (ANI): Security forces on Tuesday captured Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's top spokesman Maulvi Omar and he acknowledged the death of the group's leader in a recent US missile strike, officials said on Tuesday.

Hussain said that intelligence agencies had informed him about Maulvi Omar confirming the death of Baitullah during interrogation.

"Everybody knows that Maulvi Omar has been arrested. He was a spokesman for the Taliban. We will catch them all," a Dawn report quoted Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Information Minister for the North West Frontier Province, as saying on Tuesday.

Omar had been moved to the provincial capital Peshawar.

US and Pakistani officials have said they were almost certain that the chief, Baitullah Mehsud, had been killed during the August 5 strike, but at least three Taliban operatives, including the detainee, Maulvi Omar, had called media organisations following the attack to say he was still alive.

Omar's comments - relayed by an intelligence official who took part in the questioning - would be the first admission by the Taliban that Mehsud was dead.

The spokesman's capture was the second arrest of a prominent Taliban figure in 24 hours.

As the official spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Omar frequently called journalists to claim responsibility for terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

As well as being the movement's mouthpiece, Omar was an influential aide to Mehsud and ranking member of the Taliban.

He was captured along with two associates in a village in the Mohmand tribal region Monday night while he was travelling in a car to South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold, said Javed Khan, a local government administrator.

Omar's capture came a day after police arrested militant commander Qair Saifullah, another close Mehsud aide, as he was being treated in a private hospital in Islamabad, the capital.

Saifullah appeared on Tuesday before a special anti-terrorism court along with Zaid Ikram, an aide arrested along with him.

Both were ordered held for four days for investigation, prosecutor Raja Yaseen said, but he would not elaborate on what charges they would face. (ANI)

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