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Body found in Pakistan may be Daniel Pearl's

Daniel Pearl was confirmed dead by the U.S. State Department on February 21.  

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani police said they believe a body recovered Thursday is that of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, but its identity has not been confirmed.

Police said they were directed to the body by three men arrested late Thursday evening in Karachi in connection with the kidnapping and killing of Pearl, 38.

The three men said they buried Pearl at the location on the outskirts of Karachi, according to authorities.

Police said they went to the scene and found the buried body of a white male.

Pakistani government sources said they are fairly sure the body is Pearl's. DNA testing will be conducted to confirm the identity, they said.

E-mails led to arrests

Pearl was kidnapped in January by Muslim extremists in Pakistan and was confirmed dead by the U.S. State Department on February 21 after authorities obtained a video that showed Pearl being forced to make propaganda statements before being killed.

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The family of Daniel Pearl has established a charity "to support the causes to which he dedicated his life."

Donations can be sent to:
Daniel Pearl Family Foundation c/o The Wall Street Journal
P.O. Box 300
Princeton, N.J. 08543 U.S.A.

Sources who have viewed the tape said it shows Pearl being stabbed and decapitated, although it is unclear whether he was alive at the time.

Thursday is not the first time Pakistani police have said they had found a body they believed to be Pearl's. Soon after Pearl disappeared, a search recovered the body of a white male that turned out not to be Pearl's.

Police did not immediately reveal the identities of the three men who were arrested.

Four Islamic radicals are on trial in Hyderabad for Pearl's abduction and killing. All have pleaded not guilty. Warrants have been issued for seven other suspects.

Pearl was researching Pakistani extremists and their possible links to Richard Reid, who was arrested in December on a flight from Paris to Miami allegedly with explosives in his shoes.

A few days after Pearl disappeared, the previously unknown National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty announced his kidnapping in e-mails to U.S. and Pakistani news organizations. Photographs of Pearl were attached.

Three of the men were arrested after the FBI and police traced the e-mails to a laptop computer that belonged to one of them, Fahad Naseem.

Naseem confessed and said Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh told him three days before the kidnapping that he planned to abduct someone who is "anti-Islam and a Jew."

Main suspect indicted before kidnapping

British-born Islamic militant Saeed was arrested in February in the eastern city of Lahore. The other two defendants are Naseem's cousin, Salman Saqib, and former policeman Sheikh Mohammed Adeel.

Their trial began April 22 under heavy security at a jail in Hyderabad. Pakistan has not ruled out Saeed's extradition to the United States after the trial is over. A U.S. indictment charges him with conspiracy and kidnapping that resulted in Pearl's death. (Read the indictment)

Saeed told Pakistani officials at his first court appearance that "as far as I know" Pearl had been killed. But the statement was not made under oath and cannot be used in his trial.

A hotel clerk has identified Saeed as the man who had met with Pearl in a hotel room in Rawalpindi earlier in January.

The Bush administration reportedly asked Pakistan in January to arrest Saeed in connection with the 1994 kidnapping of three British tourists and one American in India.

The United States indicted Saeed last year and officials said they believe Pakistani officials attempted to find him without success.

Saeed was released from an Indian prison in 1999 as part of a deal to end the hijacking of an Indian jetliner.

-- CNN Islamabad Bureau Chief Ash-har Quraishi contributed to this report.




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