Islamic Militant Arrested in Pakistan

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An Islamic militant accused of killing as many as 130 minority Shiite Muslims (search) in separate attacks in recent years has been arrested in southwestern Pakistan, police said Friday.

Ramzan Mengal, a member of an outlawed Sunni group linked to al-Qaida (search), was arrested in Quetta as he was going to a mosque for evening prayer, said Pervez Rafi Bhatti, the city's police chief.

"This man was involved in all major attacks against Shiites in Quetta and elsewhere, and his arrest is a big success," Bhatti said.

Bhatti said Mengal had confessed to his role in killing 130 Shiites, adding that police believed he was involved in the March 2004 attack on a procession of Shiite Muslims in Quetta that left 45 people dead. He declined to provide other details.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the group Mengal is accused of belonging to, was outlawed by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf (search) in 2001 in an effort to purge extremism from the country.

Majority Sunni Muslims and Shiites mostly live in peace in Pakistan but small militant groups from the rival sects are blamed for sectarian violence that leaves hundreds dead or injured every year.

Quetta is the capital of Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province.