Pakistan arrests four Islamist militants
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Apr 18 (Reuters) Police in northwestern Pakistan have arrested an Arab and three Afghans suspected of militant links, officials today said.
A senior interior ministry official said they were linked to a local militant groups rather than Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda.
''They are not al Qaeda men. They had connections with a local network,'' Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema, head of ministry's Crisis Management Cell told Reuters without giving further details.
Intelligence officials, however, said there could be a al Qaeda connection.
The men were arrested today after the car they were travelling in ignored a police picket on the outskirts Peshawar.
''The police opened fire at the car, puncturing its tyres before overpowering the suspects,'' an intelligence official in Peshawar said.
Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led war on terrorism, has arrested hundreds of al Qaeda militants and handed many of them over to the United States.
The mainly Muslim nation is also fighting many home-grown militant groups, angered by the President Pervez Musharraf's support for the US-led war on terrorism.
REUTERS OM RAI1741