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Qaeda still main Pakistan bomb suspect - U.S. official

Workers paint the burnt structure of the damaged Marriott hotel in Islamabad September 22, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

GUANTANAMO U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Al Qaeda or an affiliate remain prime suspects in the Marriott hotel bombing in Pakistan, despite a responsibility claim by a little-known group, a U.S. counterterrorism official said on Monday.

“The investigation is ongoing, and we can’t corroborate this group’s claim. The short list of suspects has not changed. The attack bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda or an al Qaeda-affiliated group,” said the official.

The official was contacted by e-mail from the Guantanamo Bay U.S. base where military commission hearings continued on Monday in the cases of accused Sept. 11 conspirators.

Arabiya television has reported that a group called Fedayeen Islam (Partisans of Islam) claimed responsibility for the Marriott bombing, which killed 53 people in Islamabad’s worst attack.