Pakistan Arrests 15 Year-Old & "Handler" Behind Bhutto's Assassination
The team of assassins had been dispatched by Baitullah Mehsud.
Baitullah Mehsud (pictured above) and his fighters captured a company-sized military convoy in South Waziristan during a complex military operation in early September 2007 (Long War Journal). His fighters also captured two different Pakistani forts this week and he is suspected of being behing Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. The CIA also agreed this week that the assassins of Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister, were directed by Baitullah Mehsud.
A 15 year-old boy confessed that he was trained as a suicide bomber to kill Benazir Bhutto and that he was next in line to kill her if the other suiciders had failed.
Pakistani security agents have arrested a youth who said he had been trained as a suicide bomber to kill opposition leader Benazir Bhutto had other militants failed to kill her, in the first arrests in the case, a security official said.
The 15-year-old and his militant “handler” were arrested in the northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan on Thursday night.
The teenager, identified as Aitezaz Shah, told interrogators he would have been “next in line” to kill Bhutto if another team had failed on Dec. 27, the security official said on Saturday.
Former prime minister Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack as she left an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi on Dec. 27.
The youth told interrogators he prepared for his mission in a stronghold of al Qaeda-linked militant leader Baitullah Mehsud in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border, said the official who declined to be identified.
The official said the “handler”, identified as Sher Zaman, was the more important catch. “He is the real catch who can give us more clues,” the official said.
Pakistani officials published ads in regional papers after the assassination asking for help in identifying Bhutto’s killer(s). The killer “Bilal” has now been named.
15 year-old Aitezaz Shah was an accomplice with Bhutto’s killer:
Shah said that two of the attackers, Akram and Bilal, were to target Bhutto first. If they failed the other three were to carry out the operation.
He said Bilal killed Bhutto by shooting her and detonating an explosive vest as she was leaving an election campaign rally on December 27.
The explosion killed at least 20 other people and wounded scores more.
The whereabouts of the two other members of the group are unknown.
Shah returned to the NWFP after the operation and was assigned to a suicide mission on an unspecified foreign consulate in Karachi.
Mehsud allegedly has strong ties to al-Qaeda and an alliance with Taliban.