QUETTA, Pakistan – One Al Qaeda (search) suspect was killed in a police raid and a second was arrested, Pakistan announced Thursday, and an official said officials are trying to determine if the detainee is a Syrian with a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head for training terrorists.
Intelligence officials said a third man, with links to a Pakistani extremist group, was also captured Tuesday during the raid on a shop in this southern city that served as the office of an Islamic charity linked to a militant group.
"I can only confirm there was an encounter, and our security forces arrested one suspected Al Qaeda terrorist while another terrorist was killed," Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told The Associated Press. He said it would "take some time" to confirm their identities.
But a senior government official raised the possibility one of the arrested men is Mustafa Setmarian Nasar (search), 47, a Syrian native who holds Spanish citizenship. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
Intelligence officials described that suspect as "tightlipped and uncooperative" during interrogations.
The U.S. has offered $5 million for information leading to Nasar's arrest, describing him as an Al Qaeda member and former trainer at Usama bin Laden's (search) camps in Afghanistan who helped teach extremists to use poisons and chemicals. The department's Rewards for Justice Web site says he is likely to be in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
The U.S. Embassy said it could not confirm the arrests.
Media reports have linked Nasar, also known as Abu Musab al-Suri (search), to the 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid, Spain, that killed 191 people and to the July 7 attacks in London that left 56 dead, including the four bombers.
In September 2003, Nasar was among 35 people named in an indictment handed down by a Spanish magistrate for terrorist activities connected to Al Qaeda.
Madrid police said they had no confirmation that the suspect under arrest was Nasar. London's Metropolitan Police and Britain's Home Office said they had no immediate comment on any British interest in Nasar.
Intelligence officials in Quetta (search), capital of Baluchistan province, said authorities got a tip that Al Qaeda members were visiting the shop and decided to raid it Tuesday after getting information that suspects were inside.
Residents of the Sarki Road neighborhood said Pakistani agents burst into the shop and were dragging some men into a vehicle when gunshots rang out.
Witness Mohammed Salahuddin said some passers-by were hit and one of the arrested men, whose face was covered with a black hood, started bleeding.
"I was buying something when security officials suddenly entered the shop and overpowered two or three people. When they were throwing them in two vehicles, I heard gunshots and some passers-by fell down," Salahuddin said. "I don't know who opened the fire."
There was no official confirmation that any passers-by were injured.
An intelligence official said the dead Al Qaeda suspect was a Saudi Arabian named Shaikh Ali Mohammed al-Salim. Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the clandestine nature of his job, the official said al-Salim had been living with the man who might be Nasar.
He said the other arrested man was a suspected member of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistani Islamic militant group that authorities say has links to Al Qaeda.
Residents said they knew that suspect as Abdul Hanan.
Bari Dad, owner of the building where the raid took place, said he rented the shop to Hanan. Dad said Hanan also used the shop as an office for the Madina Trust, a charity authorities say is linked to Jaish-e-Mohammed (search).
Another resident, Nizam Din, said he believed Hanan had links with Jaish-e-Mohammed and helped recruit fighters for the wars in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in its war on terrorist groups, says it has arrested more than 700 Al Qaeda suspects since the Sept. 11 attacks in America and has handed most of them over to U.S. officials.
The last reported arrest of a key Al Qaeda figure in Pakistan was in May, when agents caught Abu Farraj al-Libbi, the alleged mastermind of assassination attempts on President Gen. Pervez Musharraf (search). He was later turned over to the United States.