Pakistan arrests senior al-Qaeda operative

PAKISTANI security forces have arrested a senior al-Qaeda operative, Muhammad Ali Qasim Yaqub – alias Abu Sohaib Al Makki – in the southern port city of Karachi.

“According to preliminary investigations, Al Makki is a Yemeni national and has been working directly under al-Qaeda leaders along Pak-Afghan borders,” the military’s media wing said overnight.

“The arrest of Al Makki is a major development in unravelling the Al-Qaeda network operating in the region,” it said.

The arrest follows a US covert operation in the garrison city of Abbottabad near Islamabad on May 2 that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and comes after US senator John Kerry visited Pakistan yesterday to smooth a damaging row caused by the raid.

Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders were left angry and embarrassed after the unilateral US assault that found and killed the al-Qaeda chief who had been living, possibly for years, a two hours’ drive from the capital.

The raid rocked the country’s powerful security establishment, with its intelligence services and military widely accused of incompetence or complicity over the presence of bin Laden in a suburban house in Abbottabad.

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