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Six al-Qaida Militants Arrested in Pakistan - 2003-03-18

Pakistani intelligence sources reported today they have arrested six more suspected al-Qaida militants in eastern Pakistan.

The arrests were made possible by information gathered since the arrest of al-Qaida communications expert Yassir al-Jazeeri on Saturday.

Though no official announcement has been made on the arrest, they reportedly include al-Jazeeri's brother-in-law, three Afghans and a Qatari national.

George Dwyer reports on the recent advances in the war on terrorism.

Pakistani officials say the capture Saturday of al-Qaida member Yassir al-Jazeeri, is the most important arrest following the detention of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of Osama Bin Laden's inner circle.

Al-Jazeeri, who was found in Lahore, Pakistan, is believed to be involved in al-Qaeda's business operations. Investigators say he played a role in disseminating Bin Laden's audio and video tapes to the media.

Some intelligence sources said the arrest had been made by Pakistani security personnel and two FBI agents. But Pakistan's Information Minister, denied any U.S. involvement.

"All action was totally by the Pakistani agencies, by the Pakistani police and Pakistani elite force and there was no harm and he was arrested safely and peacefully."

Meanwhile, the hunt for more militants of the al-Qaeda network has intensified after the recent arrests. U.S. airplanes recently dropped leaflets near the border with Pakistan, calling for help in the capture of Osama Bin Laden, taleban chief mullah Mohammad Omar and other Islamic militants. The United States believes they are responsible for the September 11th attacks against the U.S. Despite the progress achieved in hunting the terrorist cells, experts say a war with Iraq will generate more terrorism.

"A war in Iraq with large civilian casualties will alienate more youngsters in the Arab world and make for a fertile recruiting ground for radical groups like al jihad and al Qaeda."

Recently a statement released at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University says if U.S. Forces enter Iraq, jihad or struggle becomes an Islamic obligation on every male and female Muslim.