ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – An Al Qaeda suspect nabbed during a recent raid in the eastern city of Lahore has started cooperating and is "giving some leads" to his Pakistani and American interrogators, a security official said Monday.
Yassir al-Jaziri, allegedly in charge of communications for Usama bin Laden's terrorist network, was arrested on Saturday. Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed disclosed on Monday that a man believed to be al-Jaziri's brother-in-law is also in custody.
"He was arrested the same day when al-Jaziri was caught," Ahmed said. A third man, an Afghan national named Gul Zeb, was arrested with al-Jaziri, but was regarded as less important.
The brother-in-law was seized from the industrial city of Gujranwala, about 40 miles northwest of Lahore, a security official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. He said the man was arrested based on information provided by al-Jaziri, but it was not clear if the brother-in-law is also an Al Qaeda member.
The official said the brother-in-law was arrested based on information given to them by al-Jaziri.
"He has started talking and is giving some leads to us, and on this basis we have arrested his close relative," said the security official. "Pakistani and U.S. security officials are interrogating him to find out how Al Qaeda is operating."
Court documents describe al-Jaziri as an Algerian-Moroccan dual national responsible for Al Qaeda's business interests.
The official said al-Jaziri has told investigators that the last time he conveyed a message to bin Laden was "four or five months ago." He has not admitted to having a direct meeting with bin Laden.
Investigators hope to learn more from al-Jaziri about where bin Laden and other top Al Qaeda leaders may be hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Ahmed said al-Jaziri is being questioned by Pakistani and American interrogators at an undisclosed location within Pakistan.
Al-Jaziri is not on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists, but he is believed to be an important second-tier operative in the Al Qaeda organization.
His capture was made possible by information gleaned from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, who was arrested on March 1 from a home in an upscale neighborhood of Rawalpindi, a city adjacent to the capital, Islamabad.
Mohammed, who has been flown out of Pakistan and is in U.S. custody, has also been talking to interrogators, U.S. and Pakistani officials have said.
Al-Jaziri's name emerged in January. Prosecutor Sher Zaman said in Lahore that al-Jaziri was an Al Qaeda terrorist who had been in contact with Dr. Ahmad Javed Khawaja, a naturalized U.S. citizen who lives in the city, and eight family members who were arrested in December on charges of harboring Al Qaeda operatives. Two of Khawaja's sons, also doctors, and some other family members have since been released.
But one of his brothers said Sunday that no one had questioned the family about al-Jaziri or his arrest.
"We know nothing about al-Jaziri," said Ahmad Nadeem Khawaja, a younger brother of the doctor who was detained briefly and released last December. "And as for the allegation that we harbored him, it's a pack of lies."