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Group claims U.S. deaths in Pakistan

Nov. 14, 1997

The Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan -- A previously unknown group claimed responsibility today for the killings of four Americans, threatening more attacks if a Pakistani gets the death penalty for the 1993 murders of two CIA workers.

Police stepped up security after Wednesday's killings in Karachi, setting up roadblocks today in the southern port of 14 million residents to question morning rush-hour drivers and search cars for weapons.

Police were also watching several suspects, a senior police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity and without elaboration.

Even before today's unproven claim of responsibility, authorities had linked the shooting deaths of four Houston-based oil company workers and their driver to the U.S. conviction of Mir Aimal Kasi of Pakistan.

Gunmen ambushed the Americans on Wednesday as their car inched along in a traffic jam, two days after a Virginia court found Kasi guilty in the 1993 shooting spree outside CIA headquarters.

A group calling itself the Aimal Secret Committee took responsibility for Wednesday's attack in a letter published today in the War Daily, Pakistan's most widely read newspaper in the Urdu language.

The group warned Pakistanis to stay away from Americans for safety's sake, saying it would kill more U.S. citizens in Pakistan if the jury deliberating in Virginia gives Kasi the death penalty.

'If Aimal Kasi is martyred then we will not spare any American Jews on Pakistani soil and we will destroy the American Embassy in Pakistan,' declared the letter, signed Ajab Gul.

The letter also warned that 'Clinton will die' if Kasi is not released. The White House has said Wednesday's attack will not deter planned visits by Clinton in early 1998 or by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Sunday.

Pakistani police officials said they had no previous knowledge of the group and were investigating the claim. American government officials refused comment on the letter, although several said they were aware of it.

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