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Pakistan sentences 11 Islamic militants to death

/ Source: The Associated Press

Eleven Islamic militants were sentenced to death Tuesday for an assassination attempt on a Pakistani army general that killed 10 people in 2004.

After they were sentenced by Judge Feroz Mahmood Bhatti in an anti-terrorist court in the southern city of Karachi, the defendants raised their handcuffed hands and said together, “God is great!”

They also said, “This sentence cannot put us down. We are in higher spirits.”

Lt. Gen. Ahsan Saleem Hayat’s motorcade was attacked by militants using assault rifles and bombs in June 2004. Hayat survived, but the attackers killed 10 people, including six soldiers, three police and one passer-by.

Hayat was later promoted to the second highest position in Pakistan’s military.

Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city with 14 million people, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks, most blamed on domestic Islamic militants who want President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to end his support for the U.S. war on terror.

After Tuesday’s sentencing, the chief suspect, Atta-ur Rahman, told reporters that such court decisions could not stop the jihad, or holy war.

“If one Atta-ur Rahman dies, many more will come to replace me in this way of jihad,” said Rahman, the alleged chief of Jundallah, a domestic extremist group.

Defense attorney Mushtaq Ahmed said his clients would appeal.