worth-reading.com The five young American men detained in Pakistan were seeking jihad, or holy war, and were planning a big attack when arrested, local authorities in central Punjab charged Thursday.
Usman Anwar, the chief of police in the town of Sargodha, told McClatchy that the five men, all from the Washington area, were seeking a link to an ultra-radical jihad group, possibly al Qaida.
"It's above Jaish. It's something more serious than that," Anwar said in a telephone interview, referring to Jaish-e-Mohammad, the group that's been implicated in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.
News of the arrest in Sargodha, in central Punjab province, will fuel concerns that Pakistan is a magnetic draw for extremists across the world. The men were reported missing last month by their families back home. This was the third recent case of an alleged terrorist plot involving U.S. citizens that's linked to Pakistan.
The five men were taken into custody last Saturday or earlier, after arriving in Pakistan on Nov. 30, officials said. Three are of Pakistani origin, one of Egyptian parentage and one of Yemeni origin. One of the men, whom police named as Umar Farouq, has ties to Sargodha, and they were staying in a family home there. The men are thought to be in their 20s, and one is a dental student from Howard University.
"They came to Pakistan for the specific purpose of doing jihad. Sargodha was a safe place for them, so that's why they came here," Anwar said. "They wanted to go to heaven, perhaps."