South Asia

Pakistan arrests over Times Square bomb plot

Police cars in New York's Times Square early on 2 May 2010
Image caption Times Square was evacuated on 1 May while the bomb was defused

Pakistan has arrested several suspects in connection with the failed bombing in New York City, officials say.

One of the arrested is the co-owner of a prominent catering firm used by the US embassy in Islamabad, Pakistani officials told news agencies.

It is not clear when the arrests were made. They follow a visit to Pakistan by two senior US security officials.

The main suspect, Pakistan-born US citizen Faisal Shahzad, was arrested two days after the failed attempt.

Mr Shahzad has not yet entered a plea on the five charges he faces.

According to court documents he has admitted trying to detonate the Times Square car bomb, having learnt how to make it in a training camp in Pakistan's tribal region along the border with Afghanistan.

Image caption Shahzad was arrested trying to leave the US on a commerical flight

Police pulled him off a flight preparing to leave New York's JFK airport about 53 hours after he left a car with a bomb in it in Times Square.

US prosecutors have said he is co-operating with the investigation.

The news of the arrests in Islamabad came after the US embassy posted a notice on its website that the catering firm co-owned by one of the arrested men and his father may have links to "terrorist groups".

The embassy named the company as the Hanif Rajput Catering Service and warned US citizens and firms in Pakistan not to use it.

Unnamed Pakistani officials told news agencies that Salman Ashraf, the co-owner of the firm, was one of four or five men arrested.

The agencies did not say when the men were arrested.

American authorities have linked the failed New York attack to the Pakistani Taliban.

Earlier this week, a US delegation to Islamabad including President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser, Gen James Jones, and the director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, praised Pakistan for its co-operation with the investigation into the attempted Times Square bombing.