Pakistan arrests senior al-Qaeda member

2011-05-17 19:15

Islamabad - Pakistani security forces have arrested senior al-Qaeda operative Muhammad Ali Qasim Yaqub - alias Abu Sohaib Al Makki - in the southern port city of Karachi, the military said on Tuesday.

"According to preliminary investigations, Al Makki is a Yemeni national and has been working directly under al-Qaeda leaders along Pak-Afghan borders," the military's media wing said.

"The arrest of Al Makki is a major development in unravelling the al-Qaeda network operating in the region," it said.

The arrest follows a US covert operation in the garrison city of Abbottabad near Islamabad on May 2 that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and comes a day after US senator John Kerry visited Pakistan to smooth a damaging row caused by the raid.

Pakistan's civilian and military leaders were left angry and embarrassed after the unilateral US assault that killed the al-Qaeda chief, who had been living, possibly for years, two hours drive from the capital.

The raid rocked the country's powerful security establishment, with its intelligence services and military widely accused of incompetence or complicity over the presence of bin Laden in a suburban house in Abbottabad.

Al Makki is apparently not on the list of internationally most wanted al-Qaeda operatives but the military's statement mentioned his network was operating in the region.

His arrest came a day after a Saudi Arabian diplomat was killed in a hail of bullets on his way to the Saudi consulate in Karachi.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik blamed al-Qaeda for the attack which was the second on Saudi interests in Pakistan's biggest city in less than a week, media reports said.

The Pakistani Taliban denied carrying out the assassination and authorities said they were investigating possible links to sectarian groups or the death of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden by US Navy Seals.

The killing in an upmarket area of Karachi followed a grenade attack on the mission's building last week.

Saudi Arabia expelled bin Laden in 1991 and later revoked his nationality.

The government in Riyadh, which is allied to the authorities in Islamabad, last week welcomed his killing as a boost to international anti-terror efforts.

Pakistan is holding in protective custody three of bin Laden's widows, who come from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and 13 of their children.

  • John - 2011-05-17 19:52

    Good decision!

  • slg - 2011-05-17 23:47

    These are human beings doing vile things. As John Kerry so eloquent put, humanity is drawing a line to delineate what is and is not acceptable behavior. Al-Quaida and the Taliban are the political equivalents of he Mafia.

  • Mundu - 2011-05-18 19:23

    The Pakkies are just trying to win back some favour, incase the USA cuts off their handout money. I still wouldn't trust them.

      Hannah - 2011-05-20 10:26

      I dont think the pakistanis are bad but if they are brainwashed by islam then they have no choice but to behave accordingly to their political ideologies and there are a few who support the Taliban and Al-Quaida so it is unwise to be completely trusting but the americans would be the last to truly trust a muslim.

      slg - 2011-05-21 04:29

      Hannah, I agree with what you're saying except the last sentence. There are 7 million Muslims living in the US. They are Americans.

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