A Pakistani man has been detained in Chile after entering the US embassy and triggering sensors looking for traces of explosive material, Chilean and US authorities said.
Mohammed Saif Ur Rehman, 28, remained in Chilean custody on Tuesday following his detention a day earlier. Police were waiting for the results of a test to determine whether the clothes worn by Rehman had traces of the explosive TNT.
US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters in Washington that Rehman, who already had a US visa, was invited to the embassy to clarify information.
“We had invited him to come to the embassy to clarify the information that we had on this individual,” Mr. Crowley said. “And as he came into the embassy our explosive detectors went off.” Mr. Crowley would not discuss the information the embassy wanted clarified.
According to media reports in Chile, a suspicious substance was found on the man’s bag, documents and cellphone.
Rehman had been in Chile for three months, studying hotel management, and he regularly attended the only mosque in Santiago.
As—Salam Mosque spokesman Mohammed Rumie was surprised by the news.
“We hope the investigation shows that this man has no ties to anything (wrong) and that, if he does have such ties, the law will act accordingly,” he said.
This is not the first incident to affect the US embassy in Chile. In 2001, a letter—bomb was received at the embassy, and a security guard was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail for the attempted attack.
Mr. Crowley said he was not aware of any indications Rehman was connected to the May 2 plot to detonate a car bomb in New York’s Times Square. US authorities have arrested a Pakistani man in connection to the botched attempt.
Keywords: Terror threat,