PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Pakistani police helped by FBI agents arrested two suspected Al Qaeda members in a raid Wednesday, police and family members said.
"Those arrested from the residential area of Peshawar are from Algeria," an Interior Ministry official said. "They have been shifted to an interrogation center in Peshawar for investigations."
Police said they believed at least one of the men, Abu Abdullah, 35, was an important member of Usama bin Laden's terrorist network and was in charge of Islamic schools in eastern Afghanistan for the last 15 years.
On Tuesday, nine Arab men were arrested on suspicion of links with Al Qaeda, and they are being interrogated by police and intelligence officials in Peshawar.
Police and FBI agents had arrested bin Laden's top lieutenant, Abu Zubaydah, on March 28. Zubaydah is now in U.S. custody at an undisclosed location.
Police say Abdullah was in charge of the Islamic schools in eastern Afghanistan during the Taliban rule, but fled to Pakistan when the U.S.-led coalition began airstrikes. Abdullah is married to a Pakistani woman, and has lived in Peshawar since December, they said.
"My son-in-law (Abdullah) was not involved in any crime in Pakistan," said Maulana Sufi Hamid Gul, 65. Gul has appealed to the government for his release, saying Abdullah "was just a teacher."
Police say Abdullah gave shelter to an unidentified Al Qaeda fighter in Peshawar, who was also arrested at his house.
"Four Americans and heavy contingent of the police thoroughly searched our house after arresting Abdullah and his Arab friend," Gul said. "We are extremely worried about the safety of Abdullah."