A senior Al-Qaeda leader believed to have been responsible for planning attacks on the United States, Europe and Australia has been arrested in Pakistan, the army announced today.
Younis al-Mauritani was picked up in the suburbs of the southwestern city of Quetta along with two other high-ranking operatives after US and Pakistani spy agencies joined forces, signalling a possible thaw in relations.
The arrests are another blow to the global terror network, four months after Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by covert US forces, leading to a souring of ties between allies Islamabad and Washington.
It named the two other senior operatives as Abdul Ghaffar al-Shami and Messara al-Shami.
The army hailed cooperation between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency in the arrest of the trio, news of which comes just days before the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Mauritani does not feature on either the US FBI list of most wanted terrorists or the US Treasury Department’s own list of global terrorists.
But Western intelligence officials from two separate countries confirmed Mauritani was part of Al-Qaeda’s top team and linked to threats against Europe.