FBI has images of terror camp in Pak

Washington, August 1
Pakistan’s claims that it does not have terrorist training camps in its territory has been strongly contested by the FBI which has told a US court that satellite pictures pointed towards such a camp. 

In the trial of 23-year-old Pakistani American Hamid Hayat, who has been accused of terrorism-related charges, Defence Intelligence Agency’s expert Eric Benn has stated that there was as much of a 70 per cent “probability” that the satellite images pointed to a militant training camp near Balakot in northeast Pakistan.

Much to Pakistan’s embarassment, Benn told the district court in California that although he did not “detect any formal weapons training”, including firing ranges, targets, rocket launchers or explosives testing, it did not mean they were not taking place.

The structures and trail in the remote terrain fit the “signature” of “militant training”, as opposed to regular training of Pakistani armed forces, he said.

Hamid’s sentencing has been postponed by the court by four months to November and his father Umer Hayat, who at one time was charged with lying to the federal authorities, is being retried after the first round ended in a hung jury, according to media reports.

The allegation against Hamid has been that from California’s area of Lodi, which has a small Pakistani immigrant community, the 23-year-old went to Pakistan to attend a religious school and training for terrorism with the intent of returning to the US to commit violent acts.

The reports said Hamid, who was to be sentenced on July 14, is facing charges of militancy and “jihad” which can give him a jail term of as many as 39 years.

The federal prosecutors want to nail their suspect — and indirectly Pakistan — in the terror training camp case.

Hamid’s jury was shown satellite images taken between 2001 and 2004 of a Pakistani national forest which was on a mountainous terrain and about 10 km from Balakot.

The defence intelligence analyst apparently also identified a 3 km trail linked to the main road and dotted with several structures that seemed to reflect a guard house, barracks with a tin roof and perhaps some mud houses as well, the reports said


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