Published January 14, 2015
Pakistani authorities have arrested two terror suspects, including one man believed to be a senior Al Qaeda (search) operative, security officials and the Information Ministry said Wednesday.
The men, one Egyptian and another of Middle Eastern origin, were arrested two to three days ago in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, a senior government official told The Associated Press on condition his name not be used.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who will be information minister after he is sworn in later Wednesday, confirmed that "a member of Al Qaeda has been arrested" but refused to say how senior he is.
An Islamabad-based intelligence official said on condition of anonymity the men were nabbed in two raids, but he would give no details on where or exactly when. It was not clear where the suspects are being held.
Pakistan is a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism. In July, authorities arrested Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (search), a Tanazanian with a $25 million bounty on his head, and Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, a Pakistani computer expert allegedly with links to Al Qaeda operatives around the world.
The arrests led to a terror warning in the United States, and counterterror operations in Britain and the United Arab Emirates.
Pakistan has arrested more than 550 Al Qaeda suspects and turned most of them over to the United States.
Pakistan's government has repeatedly denied charges by critics that the arrests are timed to coincide with American political events. The Ghailani arrest was announced during the U.S. Democratic party convention and news of the latest arrests come amid the Republican gathering in New York.
Ahmed said authorities act on information immediately and give no thought to outside political considerations.
"When we get information we move on it," he said.