Passenger detained in Pakistan after circuits found in shoes, says unsure how they got there

By Ashraf Khan, AP
Monday, May 10, 2010

Pakistan airport stops man with circuits in shoes

KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistani airport authorities detained a passenger after electrical circuits and batteries were found in the soles of his tennis shoes, officials said Monday.

An initial investigation showed that the devices were used for massaging the feet, but the circuits could have other uses and authorities were continuing to examine them, senior police official Tanvir Aalam Odho said. Similar materials can be used in the construction of bombs.

The man, Faiz Mohammad, was arrested Sunday night at the Karachi airport, said Munir Ahmed, a spokesman for the airport security force. The materials were detected by a scanner.

Ahmed said each shoe contained a small circuit connected to two AAA batteries.

Mohammad, a building constructor headed to Muscat, Oman, told investigators he bought the shoes from a market in Karachi and had no idea there were circuits inside the soles.

In 2001, a British extremist was arrested after he tried to detonate explosives hidden in his shoes on a trans-Atlantic flight.

Pakistan’s security efforts have come under scrutiny since an alleged Pakistani-trained extremist was accused of a failed car bombing in Times Square last week. Top U.S. officials have said the Pakistani Taliban were behind the plot.

Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, was targeted by authorities in the investigation into the Times Square bombing attempt. Four people with alleged links to Jaish-e-Mohammed, a militant group affiliated with al-Qaida, were detained there.

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