ISLAMABAD: A French militant linked to an al Qaeda leader who plotted attacks on the West has been arrested in Pakistan just months after his associate was held, a Pakistani official said.
The security official described Naamen Maziche as “an important leader of al Qaeda” and “among the very close associates” of Younis al-Mauritani, but declined to say whether he was wanted in connection with a specific plot.
He added Maziche was arrested by “intelligence agencies” close to the Iranian border, but did not say when or whether Western agents took part in the raid.
Mauritani, a senior al Qaeda leader believed to have been responsible for planning attacks on Australia, Europe and the United States was arrested on September 5.
He was detained with two other ranking operatives in the suburbs of Quetta, the main city in Pakistan's Balochistan province that borders Iran.
The Pakistani official said Maziche was arrested after Mauritani told interrogators that the Frenchman had entered Pakistan from Iran and intended to travel onto Africa.
“The intelligence agencies have been tracking Maziche since then, and at last, after a successful operation he was arrested. At the moment he is being questioned about his purpose for entering Pakistan,” the official said.