PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Two suspected Al Qaeda (search) members -- including one believed to be a longtime aide to Usama bin Laden (search) -- were arrested Wednesday in northwestern Pakistan, the information minister said.
Pakistani authorities arrested Adil Al-Jazeeri of Algeria at a public swimming pool in the affluent Hayatabad neighborhood of Peshawar (search), the capital of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.
Intelligence sources said Al-Jazeeri was a longtime aide to bin Laden and was involved in the terror network's training.
"He is an important Al Qaeda catch," Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told The Associated Press in a telephone interview in the federal capital of Islamabad.
Ahmed said Al-Jazeeri was being questioned about his alleged links to Al Qaeda.
The second suspect, identified as Abu Naseem of Tunisia was arrested a short time later outside the Katcha Ghauri Afghan refugee camp on the western edge of Peshawar, according to an intelligence source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said Naseem was "highly expert in forgery and arranging fake documents for Al Qaeda men."
Pakistani security officials conducted the raids, but it wasn't immediately clear if the two men were in Pakistani custody or handed over to U.S. officials.
Sources said the two men were picked up after three Afghans were arrested a day earlier outside a Peshawar bank. The three men led them to Al-Jazeeri.
Neither Al-Jazeeri nor Abu Naseem appear on the American FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list.
Pakistan has been a key ally of the U.S.-led war on terror and has arrested nearly 500 suspected Al Qaeda men, most of whom have been handed over to the United States.
In March 2003, Pakistan arrested Al Qaeda's top leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
Abu Zubaydah, once bin Laden's top terror coordinator, was caught in the city of Faisalabad in March 2002.
Last September, Ramzi Binalshibh, another suspected planner of the attacks in the United States, was captured after a gunbattle in southern Karachi.
Also in caught in Pakistan was Waleed Mohammed Bin Attash, best known as Tawfiq bin Attash or Tawfiq Attash Khallada, a Yemeni who was one of two people described as masterminds of the bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole in Yemen on Oct. 12, 2000.
Recently, another key Al Qaeda man, Yassir Al-Jaziri, was captured in the eastern city of Lahore. Al-Jaziri was described as a key subordinate who facilitated communications between Al Qaeda operatives.