ISLAMABAD, Pakistan –
Pakistan has arrested at least seven more suspected terrorists since this week's capture of a senior Al Qaeda (search) figure wanted for two bombings against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf (search), top officials said Friday.
Al-Libbi was arrested Monday in northwestern Pakistan, accused of masterminding two bombings in December 2003 that narrowly missed the military leader, and it's hoped he can provide clues to bin Laden's location.
In the latest in a series of reports of arrests of suspected terrorists — mostly unconfirmed by officials — Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao (search) said security forces had detained "seven or eight" militants in Lahore on Thursday and confiscated weapons.
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (search) said the arrested men included associates of a junior Pakistani air force technician who was convicted and sentenced to death in November for involvement in the 2003 bombings.
The technician later escaped but was recently recaptured.
Asked whether the arrests were linked with al-Libbi's capture, Ahmed said, "He (al-Libbi) was the mastermind of local terrorists."
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Friday that al-Libbi's interrogation was going well, but the location of bin Laden — long thought to be hiding in the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan — remained a mystery.
"We have no idea about bin Laden, but certainly al-Libbi is a senior member of Al Qaeda (that) we were on the lookout for a while," Aziz told reporters during a visit to Malaysia.
"I know the interrogations are going on and they are proceeding well," he said, describing the arrest as a "good development" in the war on terrorism.
Al-Libbi was purportedly a close confidant of bin Laden since the early 1990s, even before the Saudi millionaire set up Al Qaeda.
U.S. counterterrorism officials say that al-Libbi is believed to have coordinated the movement of fighters and other logistical and planning activities for operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Europe and elsewhere.
Another intelligence official said on condition of anonymity that Pakistani and U.S. officials were cooperating "very closely" in the investigation. An intercept by U.S. agents of a cell phone call made by al-Libbi reportedly helped Pakistani agents track him down.
However, Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema (search), head of the Interior Ministry's Crisis Management Cell, denied that U.S. officials were sitting in on the interrogation of al-Libbi.
"Our own (intelligence) agencies are investigating him. No one else is involved in it for the time being," Cheema said.