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4 With Alleged Al Qaeda Ties Arrested

Pakistani police assisted by the FBI raid a refugee camp in area that voted in Islamic hard-liner.

October 16, 2002|From Associated Press

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani police backed by FBI agents arrested four men Tuesday suspected of close ties to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network, police said.

The four, all from Afghanistan, were arrested in a raid at the Jalozai refugee camp, about 25 miles east of Peshawar, they said.

Authorities seized documents, a computer and a mobile phone. Two passports also were confiscated, one from Afghanistan and the other from Saudi Arabia, officers said.

The operation was based on information provided by the FBI, which has been working with Pakistan in the war against terrorism, Pakistani officials said. It was unclear how many FBI agents took part in the raid, which used armored personnel carriers.

The names of two suspects, Sayed Abdur Rehman and Abdul Ghaffar, matched names of people on an FBI wanted list, a Pakistani security official in the operation said. The others were identified as Akhtar Mohammed and Mohammed Idrees.

The Jalozai refugee camp is run by the Ittihad-i-Islami, a group made up of former Afghan fighters who fought the Soviet invasion in the 1980s.

The camp is in the Nowshera district, where voters last week elected to parliament Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the leader of a hard-line Islamic party that ran on an anti-American platform. Ahmed calls for the removal of U.S. forces, who have used facilities in Pakistan to launch military campaigns in Afghanistan.

In recent months, Pakistani and U.S. security forces have raided several suspected Al Qaeda hide-outs, particularly in remote areas near the border with Afghanistan.

In September, Pakistani police in the southern port city of Karachi arrested Ramzi Binalshibh, a suspected planner of the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.

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