News / Asia

Pakistan Captures Senior al-Qaida Leader

Younis al-Mauritani is seen in this image displayed on Pakistan's Inter Services Public Relations website, September 5, 2011.
Younis al-Mauritani is seen in this image displayed on Pakistan's Inter Services Public Relations website, September 5, 2011.

Pakistan's military says it has arrested a senior al-Qaida leader and two colleagues with help from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

An army statement Monday identified the senior detainee as Younis al-Mauritani, believed to have been tasked by Osama bin Laden with targeting economic interests in the United States, Europe and Australia. The other two detainees were not identified.

The statement said the detainees were captured in an operation in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's Baluchistan province. It did not say when the arrests were made but said the operation was "planned and conducted with technical assistance of U.S. intelligence agencies."

The statement also said "Pakistan and U.S. intelligence agencies continue to work closely together."

U.S.-Pakistani relations underwent severe strain after U.S. special forces killed al-Qaida chief bin Laden May 2 during a raid on his compound in the northern garrison city of Abbottabad.

U.S. officials questioned after the raid whether Pakistan's intelligence agencies knew that bin Laden was living in the country.

Washington has since pressured Pakistan to crack down harder on al-Qaida.

The White House on Monday praised the operation that captured al-Mauritani.  Spokesman Josh Earnest called it "an example of the longstanding partnership between the U.S and Pakistan in fighting terrorism."

Pakistan said al-Mauritani was planning to attack energy pipelines and power generating dams, and to strike oil tankers through explosives-laden speed boats in international waters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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