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August 20, 2013 Special Dispatch No. 5415

Al-Qaeda's International Technical Hub Busted In Lahore; Group Linked To Abduction Of American Aid Worker Warren Weinstein

August 20, 2013
Special Dispatch No. 5415

On August 20, Pakistani intelligence agencies busted Al-Qaeda's international technical hub in Lahore and arrested two male and four female terrorists, according to Pakistani television channels.

The technical hub was being run through sophisticated digital devices and served the communication needs of extremists, Dunya News reported, adding that the captured suspects are believed to be involved in the kidnapping of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's son Ali Haider Gilani.

According to the report, the technical center was also used to trace and abduct Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain liberal Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. It quoted unidentified sources as saying that the "suspects had been engaged in mobile phone tracing of their victims and were planning to kidnap the son of a key political figure."

"The group was also engaged in maligning the Pakistan Telecommunication Limited Company (PTCL) and other private mobile phone operators in the country by using their SIM cards," the report said, adding that the captured suspects belong to the Hasan Gul and Daud Shah Group of militants, who were described as "sub-groups of Al-Qaeda."

During the raid, two militants were arrested, while three escaped.

A Dunya News television host indicated that the Hasan Gul group of militants is also involved in the kidnapping of American Jewish aid worker Warren Weinstein, who also was picked up from Lahore in 2011 and whose captivity was confirmed later by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Reports indicated that Pakistani securitymen carried out at least three raids at different places in Lahore today.

According to another report by Pakistan's GEO television channel, four female terrorists were also arrested by the intelligence officials during the raid in the Green Town area of Lahore.

"Al-Qaeda was operating an illegal gateway change under the name 'International Technical Hub'" from a private residence, the report said, adding that ID and signals from Afghanistan and the tribal areas were received at this communication center.

Sources: Dunyanewstv.com (Pakistan), August 20, 2013; Geo.tv (Pakistan), August 20, 2013

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