Three al-Qaida suspects arrested in northwestern Pakistan

Pakistani anti-terror police commandos on Monday arrested two Afghans and an Arab, suspected to be al-Qaida militants, after a gunfight outside the northwestern city of Peshawar, two intelligence officials said. The officials did not reveal the identity of the arrested men, and it wasn't immediately clear if they were suspected to be senior figures in the terror group.

The police opened fire on a car carrying the men after it sped through a roadblock mounted on the outskirts of the city, and the suspects returned fire, said the officials who both requested anonymity as they weren't authorized to speak to journalists. Police shot out the tires of the car forcing it to halt. One man escaped while the three others were arrested two of them sitting in the back seat, disguised as women wearing all-covering burqa shrouds, one of the intelligence officials said. One of the arrested men was injured in the hand.

An AK-47 assault rifle and grenades were found inside the car. Interior Ministry officials could not immediately confirm the arrests, which comes less than a week after Pakistani officials reported security forces had killed an Egyptian al-Qaida suspect on the U.S. FBI most-wanted list for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.

Mohsin Musa Matawalli Atwah, 45, died along with at least six other militants in a raid last Wednesday in the remote North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border, about 180 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of Peshawar, the officials said, reports the AP.


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