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Monday
Mar182013

Suspect Arrested, Linked to Daniel Pearl Slaying

CNN via Getty Images(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) -- Pakistani officials said Monday they have arrested a suspect in connection with the brutal 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl.

Officials told ABC News the suspect, Qari Abdul Hayee, who often used the alias Asadullah, was captured Sunday in a targeted operation by the Pakistani Rangers, a paramilitary unit, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city and a sprawling metropolis home to an estimated 18 million people.

Pearl was kidnapped in January 2002 while en route to interview a Pakistani militant and was later beheaded in a gruesome video eventually posted online.

In 2007, self-described 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed reportedly confessed to having killed Pearl, but it's unclear whether he personally carried out the beheading. Mohammed, currently in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, has never been charged with the crime.

Pakistani officials said they do not believe Hayee carried out the murder, but said he was "privy to the whole situation" and that he was part of the terror group that carried out the crime.

In 2011 a man named Abdul Hayee was identified as one of 27 people allegedly involved in Pearl's kidnapping in a special investigation by Georgetown University called The Pearl Project.

Hayee is currently being interrogated and is expected to be handed over to police, who will formally initiate legal proceedings, officials said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio