Pakistani authorities reportedly raid al Qaeda communications center
According to a report in Geo News today, officials from Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raided a house in the Green Town area of Lahore where al Qaeda was operating a communications center.
Authorities arrested six alleged terrorists, including four females, and also seized weapons and ammunition. Pakistantv claimed that two terrorists were arrested. The areas of Green Town, Township, and Kot Lakhpat were sealed following the raid.
Dunya News said the suspects were allegedly involved in the kidnappings of former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani's son Ali Haider Gilani and of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer's son Shahbaz Taseer. It also reported that the group was planning other kidnappings of sons of prominent political figures.
The suspects were members of the Hasan Ghul and Daud Shah Group, two al Qaeda subgroups, Dunya claimed. Hassan Ghul is a senior al Qaeda operative and US-designated global terrorist said to be at large in Pakistan following his release from prison in 2007. [See LWJ report, US Treasury lists 3 senior al Qaeda leaders as terrorists.] Dunya noted that three suspects managed to flee during the raid.
According to Geo, the suspects were said to be operating "an illegal gateway exchange under the name of International Technical Hub," where, intelligence sources claimed, "ID and signals from Afghanistan and the tribal areas were received." The communications center was also involved in tracing victims via their mobile phones, as well as "serving communication needs of the extremists," Dunya reported.