( dpa ) - Pakistani authorities questioned two suspectes Sunday, including a 15-year-old boy, about their links with a militant group allegedly behind the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, officials said.
"I can confirm that a teenage boy and his senior partner have been detained by the police in Dera Ismail Khan on suspicion of their involvement in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto," Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah said.
The boy, Aitzaz Shah, has confessed that he was one of the several attackers assigned to kill Benazir Bhutto, he said.
"But we are also questioning his senior partner for the confirmation of the confession and when the investigations are complete we will be able to come up with something definitive," the official said.
But a senior police official in Dera, Ismail Khan, said the boy was only a member of the group that was believed to be behind Bhutto's murder, and had no direct involvement in the killing.
"At the time of the attack he was not in Rawalpindi," the official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
Shah was arrested Friday when he was driving in a car with his handler, Sher Zaman, who had tasked him with targeting a Shiite gathering in the northwestern city. During the search, the police also recovered explosives and arms.
"The two suspects belong to the group of tribal commander Baitullah Mehsud," the police official said.
There were reports that the law enforcement agencies had also detained a government official in South Waziristan tribal district for his links with the two suspects.
Mehsud, a pro-Taliban commander in Pakistan's restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan, was blamed by the Pakistani government for Bhutto's murder shortly after the tragic incident.
US intelligence chief Michael Hayden supported the claims on Friday, saying that Mehsud's men had killed the Pakistani opposition leader with support from the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
"You've got this nexus now that probably was always there in latency but is now active: a nexus between al-Qaeda and various extremist and separatist groups," the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director told the Washington Post.
A spokesman for Mehusd denied the allegations and said Shah had no links with their group. "We have denied our involvement in Benazir's assassination previously and we are strongly denying this again," Maulvi Omar told the Dawn newspaper.
"Yesterday, the American CIA had made a similar claim and now the police claim seems to be a continuation of the same conspiracy," he added. dpa ns yam tl