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Officials: Pakistani security forces capture key al Qaeda leader

By Reza Sayah, CNN
June 21, 2012 -- Updated 0107 GMT (0907 HKT)
French national Naamen Meziche, an alleged al Qaeda ringleader, was arrested in Pakistan.
French national Naamen Meziche, an alleged al Qaeda ringleader, was arrested in Pakistan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Officials: Naamen Maziche was in charge of some of al Qaeda's international operations
  • He is arrested near Pakistan's border with Iran
  • He is a close aide of an al Qaeda leader arrested in September 2011, officials say

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani security forces arrested a key al Qaeda leader near the nation's border with Iran, military officials said Wednesday.

They arrested French national Naamen Maziche, who was in charge of some of the terror network's international operations, according to the Pakistani military officials. They did not want to be named because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

Maziche is a close aide of al Qaeda leader Younis Al Mauretani, the officials said.

Pakistan makes al Qaeda arrest

Pakistani intelligence agents arrested Mauretani and three aides in September 2011. At the time of his arrest, Pakistani officials said he sought to attack targets in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Osama bin Laden had asked Mauretani to focus on hitting targets of economic importance in the U.S. such as oil pipelines, dams and oil tankers, Pakistani officials said at the time.

Mauretani told investigators Maziche was in Iran and possibly headed to Africa, the officials said.

The exact time and place of Maziche's arrest was unclear.

Al Qaeda's most wanted

And now, only one senior al Qaeda leader left

Journalist Ayza Omar contributed to this report

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