Skip to comments.Two Senior Al-Qaida Suspects Arrested in Pakistan, Including Two Wanted by United States
Posted on 08/03/2004 9:45:29 AM PDT by Republican Red
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistani authorities have arrested two high-ranking al-Qaida terrorists - one with a multimillion-dollar U.S. bounty on his head - in a days-long sweep that has netted at least six suspected militants, officials said Tuesday. The interior minister said the arrests in eastern Punjab province were a major break just days after intelligence agents arrested Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian wanted for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.
"In addition to Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, whose bounty was $25 million, we have captured another most wanted suspect with a bounty on him running into the millions of dollars," the minister, Faisal Saleh Hayyat, said.
He said both suspects were of African origin but refused to identify them or their nationalities.
Four Egyptians and a Libyan on the FBI's list of most-wanted terrorists are believed to be in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Each of them has a $5 million bounty on his head in connection with the embassy bombings.
Osama bin Laden's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, is also from Egypt. He and the al-Qaida chief are believed hiding along the Pakistan-Afghan border, far from Punjab province.
Hayyat's announcement followed news that at least six al-Qaida suspects, including a Syrian, have been arrested in separate raids in recent days.
Three of the suspects - two Pakistanis and a foreigner - were arrested on a road near the eastern city of Lahore, and five grenades and two AK-47 rifles were found in their sports utility vehicle, a high-ranking intelligence official told The Associated Press.
Another detainee is a policeman, Raja Waqar, assigned to the office of Punjab province's top politician; he is suspected of passing al-Qaida linked groups information on the whereabouts of top government officials, Lahore police chief Tariq Salim Dogar told The Associated Press.
"The previous record of the policeman shows that he has been involved in jihadi activities and had links with al-Qaida. We have initiated a probe to find out how he managed to get posted to such a sensitive place," Dogar said.
A fifth suspect, arrested Sunday at a bus station in a town near Lahore, identified himself as Juma Ibrahim, a Syrian, said district police chief Aslam Ghauri. He said Ibrahim was turned over to Pakistan's spy agency.
Another man was arrested trying to board a plane in Lahore with questionable documents, said a government official who gave no further details.
It was not immediately clear if any of the six militants described by Pakistani officials included the two senior al-Qaida men that Hayyat said were wanted by the United States.
Several of the detainees were believed to be linked to other al-Qaida suspects in custody, including a computer expert identified as Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan who was arrested July 13.
Khan provided information leading to the arrest of Ghailani in eastern Gujrat on July 25, said an intelligence official in Lahore who was involved in the raid on Ghailani.
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said Monday that Ghailani's computers at home contained e-mails with instructions for attacks in the United States and Britain.
Intelligence gained from Khan's and other arrests was a major factor in U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's decision to issue a warning Sunday about a possible al-Qaida attack on prominent financial institutions in New York, Washington and Newark, N.J.
Pakistani officials are also pointing to the arrest in June of Masrab Arochi - nephew of former al-Qaida No. 3 Khalid Shaikh Mohammed - as providing useful intelligence. Arochi was among 10 suspects arrested in raids in the southern port city of Karachi.
An intelligence official in the capital, Islamabad, said Arochi led police to a network of al-Qaida operatives and that several as-yet-undisclosed arrests have been made. He would not confirm any direct link between Arochi and the arrest of Khan, the computer expert, but said Arochi has been made available to U.S. intelligence agents.
Pakistan has vowed not to turn him over to the United States.
Meanwhile, details emerged about the hunt that led authorities to Ghailani, the suspect in the U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 200 people - including 12 Americans.
Ghailani arrived in Pakistan on a Kenyan Airlines flight to Karachi on Aug. 6, 1998, a day before the attacks. He was a ghost until his arrest nearly six years later, apparently as he planned to flee the country.
A senior intelligence official told The Associated Press that Ghailani spent time in the tribal area of South Waziristan before traveling in recent weeks to Gujrat. Al-Qaida "facilitators" arranged for him to hide in several local houses, said the official, who asked that his name not be used.
Officials also believe Ghailani was hiding for a while in the southern port city of Karachi, home to a number of local extremist groups as well as al-Qaida, and in Lahore.
Raja Munawar Hussain, the police chief in Gujrat, told AP that a front man who leased a car and opened a bank account for Ghailani also was arrested.
It's raining terrorists! :-)
Hard drive is paying off!
I QUESTION THE TIMING! YEEEEAGH!
Keep 'em coming!
I personally think the Victoria's Secret method of interrogation is paying the biggest dividends.
Its' all Politics and it's Bush's Fault! And tha't all I have to say YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!
According to Kerry, Bush hasn't done anything for almost 3 years.
An ARAB who majored in Computer Science?!?!
Surely you jest!
The next best thing to dead terrorists: captured, tortured terrorists.
Another shipment of Victoria's Secret panties is on its way to Pakistan.
I'm waiting for the first media whore to bring this up. It will probably be Katie Communist.
We need Osama! If the guy's dead, we need to find his body. If he's not, we gotta find this jerk now!
The benefit to our safety is of course the number one benefit, but it would politically help W a lot as well and refute Kerry's claim that he's done nothing to combat terrorism.
But these were OLD terrorists wanted for OLD ACTS OF TERRORISM.......They don't count anymore........
... and one of 'em had his ratbag wife with him, as well!
Someone just got rich on the bounty too, I assume. Money is a great motovator.
They are probably MADE in PAKISTAN.....P-Stan is a big textile exporter.....