Two al-Qaida suspects arrested in Pakistan
Updated: 2005-11-03 14:04
Pakistani security agencies
have arrested two al-Qaida suspects and are investigating whether one is a
Syrian believed to be a key figure in Osama bin Laden's terror network in
Europe, two intelligence officials and a senior government official said
The two suspects were captured this week during a raid on a house in Quetta,
the capital of Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, said one of the
intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not
authorized to address the media.
A senior government official confirmed the arrests and said authorities were
investigating whether one of the suspects was Mustafa Setmarian Nasar, alleged
to have had a key role in the March 11, 2004, Madrid bombings that left 191
people dead and more than 1,500 people injured. That official also declined to
be named, saying he was not allowed to comment publicly on the investigation.
Neither the intelligence officials nor the government official had
information about the identity of the second suspect.
Pakistani government spokesmen and the U.S. Embassy said they could not
immediately confirm the arrests.
Last year, the U.S. government announced a $5 million reward for information
leading to the capture of Nasar, also known as Abu Musab al-Suri.
The U.S. Justice Department's Rewards for Justice Web site describes Nasar as
an al-Qaida member and former trainer at terrorist camps in Afghanistan who
instructed extremists in using poisons and chemicals. It also says he is likely
to be in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Nasar, 47, was born in Syria and also has Spanish nationality. His name has
also been linked to the July 7 bombings in London that left 52 people dead.
In September 2003, he was among 35 people named in an indictment handed down
by a Spanish magistrate for terrorist activities connected to al-Qaida, and was
alleged to have close ties with the alleged leader of the terror group's cell in
Spain, a Syrian-born Spaniard named Imad Yarkas.
Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in its war on terrorism, says it has arrested more
than 700 al-Qaida suspects since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, and has
handed most of the suspects to the United States.
The last reported arrest of a key al-Qaida figure in Pakistan was in May,
when Abu Farraj al-Libbi, the alleged mastermind of assassination attempts
against Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf was nabbed after a shootout
in a northwestern town. He was later handed over to the United