Iran arrests two al-Qaida members

Iran said Tuesday it had detained two suspected al-Qaida members who entered the country illegally from Iraq, state television reported.

"Two suspected al-Qaida operatives were arrested after entering Ilam province from Iraq," the television reported, adding that they were being interrogated.

Iran says it has made a significant contribution to the global campaign against terrorism by detaining agents of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, but the United States accuses the Tehran government of harboring al-Qaida fugitives, the AP reports.

Iran says it has repatriated more than 500 suspected al-Qaida operatives, most of them Saudis. It has also said that some al-Qaida suspects would stand trial in Iranian courts for offenses committed in Iran, but no reports of such trials have emerged.

U.S. counter-terrorism officials have said a handful of senior al-Qaida operatives who fled to Iran after the war in Afghanistan in 2001 may have developed a working relationship with a secretive military unit linked to Iran's religious hard-liners. Iran has rejected the charges.

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