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Lottie

Pakistan Seizes 'Al-Qaeda' Gang

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Slowly they are getting pulled in..too slow for my liking but its a start...

Security forces in Pakistan have arrested suspected al-Qaeda members in the southern city of Karachi, days after an attack on a general there.

They seized an "eight-member gang of foreign al-Qaeda operatives" suspected of that attack and others, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said.

A ninth detainee is said to be a nephew of top al-Qaeda suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, arrested last year.

Mr Hayat said the man, Masrab Arochi, had a $1m bounty on his head.

The suspects were detained over the weekend in separate raids across Karachi, the minister told a hastily arranged news conference.

Mr Hayat said the arrests marked a "big dent" in al-Qaeda, the militant Islamic network headed by Osama Bin Laden.

Gunmen who ambushed the motorcade of Lt Gen Ahsan Saleem Hayat in Karachi on Thursday killed 11 people but Karachi's targeted military commander escaped unhurt.

'Confessions'

The weekend's arrests came as Pakistani troops continued a major offensive against al-Qaeda suspects and their allies in the South Waziristan region, on the border with Afghanistan.

The interior minister said the eight people arrested in Karachi besides Masrab Arochi had been trained in South Waziristan and had "a direct link to al-Qaeda".

They had confessed "to a key role in the attack" on the military commander, he said.

He described the eight as "Central Asians", reportedly adding that they included both Uzbeks and "Chechens", a reference to the mainly Muslim province in the Russian North Caucasus.

"The arrest of the gang is a phenomenal breakthrough for us," the Pakistani interior minister said.

Security forces seized Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi in March 2003.

The US had a bounty of $23m on his head at the time, believing him to be one of the planners behind the 11 September 2001 attacks on America.

Source

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