Italian police hand over APS attack suspect to FIA

آرمی پبلک اسکول حملہ'ملزم' اٹلی سے گرفتارItalian police has handed over a man suspected of involvement in the December 2014 Army Public School (APS) massacre to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), security sources said Thursday.

Usman Ghani — who hails from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mardan district — was escorted to Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) early Thursday by Italian police after being arrested in Italy with Interpol’s assistance, the sources said.

Ghani is reportedly wanted for his involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan including the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)-claimed APS attack in which at least 150 people were killed, over 140 of them being children, they said.

After he was handed over to FIA, the suspect has been shifted to the agency’s passport cell for investigation, sources added.

Ghani hails from Mardan’s Dher village.

In the deadliest terror attack in the country’s history, over 135 schoolchildren and at least 10 other people were killed when heavily armed militants stormed the army-run school in Peshawar.

Principal of the Army Public School & College, Tahira Qazi, was among the staff members killed.

According to a senior security official, nine militants wearing paramilitary uniforms scaled the rear wall of APS on Peshawar’s Warsak Road with the aid of ladders, cut the barbed wire at the top of the wall and then ran onto the school premises firing their weapons and throwing grenades in several directions.

The shooting and clean-up operation continued for around seven hours.

“There were nine of them. Six of them were suicide bombers; they blew themselves up and the others were taken down by soldiers of the Special Services Group,” the official had said.

All nine militants, who took part in the attack, were identified, the official had said.

A spokesman for the outlawed Mullah Fazlullah-led TTP had accepted responsibility for the attack.

Mohammad Khurasani had told reporters from an undisclosed location that the attack was carried out in retaliation to the military operation in North Waziris­tan and the killing of militants in government custody.

The army had in February claimed to have made key arrests in connection with the APS attack, and said that all involved in it, except six, had either been killed or captured,.

Seven soldiers of the Special Services Group and two officers were among the wounded, the Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations, Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had said at the time.

“This is the darkest day in the history of Pakistan,” he had said addressing a press briefing at Corps Headquarters, Peshawar following the massacre.

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