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Suspect in Daniel Pearl death arrested

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistani security forces have arrested a suspect in the 2002 murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl, according to police and military officials.

Qari Abdul Hayee, a former leader of the Sunni sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or LeJ, was aware of the plan to kidnap Pearl, The Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief, who was decapitated, according to a military official who asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to comment on the case.

Imran Shaukat, police spokesman in Sindh province, confirmed Hayee's arrest in the port city of Karachi.

Hayee was LeJ head in Sindh province when Pearl was killed. The U.S. State Department listed LeJ in 2003 as a terrorist group, saying it had links to al-Qaida and Pearl's murder.

Rehman Malik, former Pakistan interior minister, said last month that the group was responsible for 80 percent of terrorist activity in the country after a surge in attacks on the Shia, Geo television reported.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks who is imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, carried out the killing of Pearl. Mohammed told a March 2007 U.S. military hearing there that he had personally slit Pearl's throat and beheaded him.

A video of Pearl's decapitation was sent to the U.S. consulate in Karachi.

U.K.-born Islamic militant Ahmed Omar Sheikh was sentenced to death in July 2002 for murdering the journalist and being the lead planner in his capture. He's still in prison.

Three of his collaborators received life sentences for assisting in the kidnapping.

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