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Leader of militant group arrested in Pakistan, police say

From Shaan Khan, CNN
February 23, 2013 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Militants claimed responsibility for a February 16 suicide bombing at a crowded marketplace in Quetta that killed at least 89 people.
Militants claimed responsibility for a February 16 suicide bombing at a crowded marketplace in Quetta that killed at least 89 people.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Malik Ishaq was arrested in Pakistan's Punjab province
  • Authorities say Ishaq is the leader of Lashkar-e Jhangvi
  • The group claimed responsibility for a bombing in Quetta that left 89 dead

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani authorities arrested the leader of an outlawed Sunni militant group believed to be behind a suicide bombing at a marketplace that left dozens dead, a senior police official said.

Malik Ishaq, the leader the al Qaeda-linked Lashkar-e Jhangvi, was taken into custody Friday at his home in Rahim Yar Khan in the Punjab province, police official Ishfaq Gujar said.

Police did not outline the charges against Ishaq, but said it was part of a crackdown on the group.

Ishaq's arrest followed news that the militant group claimed responsibility for a February 16 suicide bombing targeting Shiites at a crowded marketplace on the outskirts of Quetta that killed at least 89 people and wounded more than 180.

The bombing that sparked nationwide protests, and Pakistan's prime minister ordered a crackdown on the group.

Ishaq has been previously arrested in connection with alleged terror attacks, but has never been charged and convicted.

Laskhar-e Jhangvi was outlawed in Pakistan in 2001. The group was designated a terror organization by the United States in 2003, according to the Long War Journal.

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