Story highlights

The three boys are arrested as they make their way to North Waziristan, police say

They were to receive suicide bomb training there, according to police

Police: A man alleged to be their handler is arrested alongside the boys

Islamabad, Pakistan CNN  — 

Three boys ages 12 to 14, who were allegedly due to be trained as suicide bombers, were arrested with their suspected handler in northwest Pakistan, authorities said Thursday.

“We arrested the boys on a tip,” said police official Mir Ahmed Khan.

The boys confessed they were being taken from Karachi to a city in North Waziristan for suicide bomb training, according to Khan. They were arrested Tuesday on their way to Miranshah as they boarded a bus in Norang town.

They are originally from South Waziristan, but were living in the southern port city of Karachi, he said.

A day after their arrest, the boys and alleged handler Yahya Mehsud appeared before an anti-terror court Wednesday, Khan said.

Mehsud is believed to be a part of a gang that provides young boys for suicide bombing, according to the police official.

North Waziristan, part of Pakistan’s ungoverned tribal region along the Afghanistan border, is widely believed to be the headquarters of the Haqqani network – a militant group Washington has long accused of fueling some of the deadliest attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan.