Pearl’s death was confirmed last night with a “gruesome” video of his assassination that was handed over to a FBI agent and then U.S. consulate officials in Karachi, Pakistan. Pearl’s body, however, has not been located.
Four suspects are already in custody, including suspected ringleader Omar Saeed Sheikh, and officials are looking for four more in relation to the kidnapping.
“This incident has enhanced our resolve and in the days to come, I will deal with all kinds of terrorism with an iron hand,” said Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Pakistan officials said Pearl’s death will increase their efforts to find the kidnappers because they will not be afraid for Pearl’s safety anymore.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider said “we know their names and we know their identity,” and when the suspects are arrested “the whole net will be broken.”
Pearl’s widow Mariane, who is seven months pregnant, released a statement Friday thanking people for the worldwide support she and her husband have received and saying her husband’s spirit has not been defeated.
“The terrorists who say they killed my husband may have taken his life, but they did not take his spirit. Danny is my life. They may have taken my life, but they did not take my spirit.”
She said she hoped to tell their son that “his father carried the flag to end terrorism, raising an unprecedented demand among people from all countries not for revenge but for the values we all share: love, compassion, friendship and citizenship far transcending the so-called clash of civilizations.”
President Bush, in Beijing for a state visit, said he was “deeply saddened” by Pearl’s death and had harsh words for the journalist’s killers.
“Those who would threaten Americans, those who would engage in criminal, barbaric acts need to know that these crimes only hurt their cause and only deepen the resolve of the United States of America to rid the world of these agents of terror,” Mr. Bush said.
He also expressed regrets for Pearl’s family and unborn child. “We’re especially saddened for his unborn child, who will now know his father only through the memory of others.”
President Bush spoke to Musharraf regarding the Pearl matter Friday from Air Force One.
Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters that the Pakistan president expressed “deep regret” and “took [news of the death] pretty hard because he was trying to do everything he could to keep that from happening.”
In a statement on Thursday, the Journal’s editors said they were “heartbroken” by Pearl’s death.
“Danny was an outstanding colleague, a great reporter, and a dear friend of many at the Journal,” said Paul Steiger, managing editor of the Journal, in a statement. “His murder is an act of barbarism that makes a mockery of everything Danny’s kidnappers claimed to believe in. They claimed to be Pakistani nationalists, but their actions must surely bring shame to all true Pakistani patriots.”
Pearl was kidnapped on January 23 while researching a story on alleged “shoe bomber” Richard Reid’s possible connections to Pakistani militant groups.