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Archive for Sunday, March 16, 2003

Suspected high-ranking al-Qaida member arrested in Pakistan

March 16, 2003

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— Pakistani authorities arrested a high-ranking al-Qaida member Saturday in the eastern city of Lahore, according to Information Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed.

Ahmed said Yasser al-Jazeeri, a Moroccan national whom he described as a top lieutenant to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, was captured without incident about 6 p.m. at a private home.

A Pakistani police official involved in the case said al-Jazeeri was tracked down through information found during the March 1 arrest of Mohammed, whom American intelligence officials have described as No. 3 in the al-Qaida hierarchy.

A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity said it was uncertain how important al-Jazeeri was.

The official described him as an al-Qaida money man.

"We were in hot pursuit of this guy for almost 10 days," said the Pakistani police official, who spoke on condition he not be identified.

When agents and police nabbed Mohammed, who was arrested in Rawalpindi, about 150 miles northwest of Lahore, they seized what has been described as a treasure trove of names, telephone numbers, computer data and documents.

The police official said evidence gathered from Mohammed's arrest has put investigators on the trail of several other al-Qaida members, though he did not know if authorities were any closer to capturing the world's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden.

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