New York Times
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Intelligence officials have detained a French man of Algerian origin who is suspected of having links to an al-Qaida cell that carried out the 9/11 attacks, a senior Pakistani official said Wednesday.
The official identified the man as Naamen Meziche and said he had been captured in western Baluchistan province, between the main city of Quetta and the remote Iranian border, in the past month.
"He was trying to travel out, probably to Somalia," the New York Times quoted the official as saying.
The arrest was confirmation that intelligence cooperation was still operating at some level between Pakistan and the United States despite a critical breakdown in relations over a range of issues, from NATO supply lines to Taliban infiltration into Afghanistan.
It also pointed to a pattern of militant migration from Waziristan, along the Afghan border, to safer locations in Somalia and Yemen, perhaps as a result of the rising toll of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan.
Western intelligence assessments describe Meziche as being in his early 40s and acting as a midlevel recruiter for Islamist extremist groups, including al-Qaida.
They say Meziche, who had lived in Germany, was close to Mohammed Atta and other members of the Hamburg, Germany, cell who participated in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.