Multan, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistani police said Thursday they have foiled a plot to kill the country's prime minister, foreign minister and other senior police, army and government officials by arresting a group of seven militants in central Pakistan.
Senior police official Abid Qadri said authorities learned about the plot during an initial interrogation of militants, who were arrested late Wednesday after a shootout near a village in central Pakistan.
The militants opened fire when police tried to pull the suspects' car over for a routine check, Qadri said. Nobody was wounded or killed in the shooting, but two men managed to escape, he said.
"We have averted several high-profile attacks by arresting these terrorists," he told The Associated Press.
The men are all part of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is a banned Sunni Muslim militant group linked to both the Taliban and al-Qaida, Qadri said. The group has been blamed for attacking minority Shiite worship places and killing Shiites across Pakistan.
Some of the suspects arrested Wednesday are believed to have taken part in last year's attack on the main Pakistani spy agency in the central city of Multan that killed 12 people, Qadri said.
He did not say how far along the men were in their alleged plot to kill Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the others.
Qadri said the suspects also had plans to attack a key dam, a bridge and military installations.