Pakistan nabs more terror suspects
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Pakistan Nabs Five More Terror Suspects
Pakistan Captures Five More al-Qaida Suspects, Militant Accused in Attack on a General
The Associated Press
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Aug. 12, 2004 — Armed with intelligence from newly arrested al-Qaida suspects, Pakistan has nabbed five more members of Osama bin Laden's network in the past 48 hours and a leader of a militant group accused in an attack on a Pakistani general, officials said Thursday.
The arrests are the latest in a monthlong terror crackdown that has netted about 30 fugitives, including a Pakistani computer expert for al-Qaida and a Tanzanian indicted in the deadly 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa.
These successes have boosted the credentials of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf as an ally of the United States in the war on terror a cause given added urgency at home by recent attacks on Musharraf and prime minister-designate Shaukat Aziz.
Pakistani officials would not name the five al-Qaida men they said were arrested in the past two days. A senior official described them as "valuable targets" but refused to reveal their identities, nationalities or roles within al-Qaida.
"Our forces raided some places in the past two days and captured five terrorists, including foreigners, who are valuable targets," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed confirmed the arrests, but gave no details.
There was no sign authorities are on the trail of bin Laden or his top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, long believed to be hiding on the Pakistani-Afghan border, where Pakistani military operations this year have scattered hundreds of al-Qaida fighters.
Among those believed to have fled the border area was Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the Tanzanian wanted by the United States in the East Africa bombings. He was arrested July 25 based on information provided by Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, an al-Qaida computer expert captured 12 days earlier.
Khan and Ghailani's computers contained photographs of potential targets in the United States and Britain that prompted a terror alert in the United States. Information from Khan is also believed to have led to a dozen arrests in London.
On Sunday, two Turks said to have fled the tribal area of Waziristan the focus of recent military operations against al-Qaida were captured in Lahore. A senior official said Thursday that one of the Turks may have played a role in a terrorist attack in Turkey, although he had no details.
A diplomat at the Turkish Embassy said it was seeking access to the two men.
Also Thursday, police in the southern port city of Karachi arrested a top militant from an al-Qaida-linked group for his alleged role in an attack that narrowly missed the city's top general on June 10. Ten others died in the attack.
Rao Khalid, alias Haris, described as the No. 3 leader in the Jundallah group, was captured on the outskirts of the city. He is the 10th suspect arrested in the attack as part of an investigation officials have said helped lead authorities to the al-Qaida computer expert Khan.
In northwestern Pakistan, meanwhile, officials reported the arrests Wednesday of an Arab and an Uzbek linked to al-Qaida.
A United Arab Emirates national, Mohammed Khalid Rashid Ahmed, was detained at a checkpoint along with two Pakistanis as they tried to enter the tribal region of Mohmand near Afghanistan. They were being interrogated, an intelligence official said.
The Uzbek, identified only as Mansoor, was picked up at a bus station in Nowshera, a garrison town near the northwestern city of Peshawar. Another intelligence official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mansoor was believed linked to Ghailani, whose wife is Uzbek.
The official said Mansoor had been trained as a suicide bomber and was arrested because of information gleaned from the recent al-Qaida arrests.
Associated Press writers Munir Ahmad in Islamabad and Riaz Khan in Peshawar contributed to this report.