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Homeland Security

Pakistan captures al-Qaeda No. 3 suspect: official

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, May 4, IRNA
Pakistan-Al Qaeda
Pakistani security forces have arrested a key al-Qaeda suspect Abu Faraj al-Libbi, who was also wanted for two suicide attacks on President General Pervez Musharraf, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Wednesday.

"There is no harm to confirm that Abu Faraj al-Libbi has been arrested," the official told a private television channel when his reaction was sought about unconfirmed reports on the arrest.

Al Libbi is reportedly a Libyan citizen who has worked with Bin Laden and is believed to have taken over the No. 3 job with the capture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, in March 2003, according to reports.

As Khalid's aide, Abu Faraj has played a role in organizing the 9/11 attacks, according to reports.

Last year Pakistani officials issued a poster of the country's 'most wanted terrorists', offering rewards of 20 million rupees (about US 333 thousand dollars) for the capture of Abu Faraj.

They said that Abu Faraj is also known as 'Dr. Taufeek'. All in the poster but Abu Faraj were Pakistani citizens.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid said Mr Faraj is believed to have instigated two assassination attempts on President Musharraf in December 2003.

He did not disclose when and where Abu Faraj was arrested but intelligence sources say he was arrested in Mardan, a major town in North West Frontier Province a few days ago.

"He is the in the custody of Pakistani intelligence agencies," the official added.

The United States believed that Faraj once served as an assistant to Osama bin Laden, in the Sudan in the early 1990s.

Pakistani says Abu Faraj is the new No. 3 man in the al-Qaeda network and may know the whereabouts of bin Laden and Ayman al- Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's No. 2 man.

Capturing him has become a top priority of intelligence agencies in Pakistan and the United States and General Musharraf was quoted as saying last year that security forces will finally get Abu Faraj.

::IRNA No.047 04/05/2005 17:23 --End

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