- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 4, 2003

WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) — Pakistani intelligence agencies again have raided the house where alleged terrorist Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was arrested and have interrogated those living there.

Mohammed, who is believed to have planned the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, was arrested at the residence of a Pakistani religious leader on Saturday.

"About a dozen plain-clothed men, accompanied by police commandos, raided our home again late Tuesday night but left after interrogating those present," said M. L. Qudus, the sister of the Pakistani suspect Ahmad Abdul Qudus, who was detained with Mohammed and another Arab suspect.

"They were asking about our father, Abdul Qudus," she said at a press briefing.

Qudus, a physician, was at a wedding in Lahore when a team of 25 Pakistani intelligence agents raided his home and arrested the three suspects. Qudus is a physician and has lived in Sudan where he is believed to have developed contacts with Islamic activists.

Pakistani officials say that so far they have no evidence that Qudus was also involved with al Qaida, but want to interrogate him for possible links. They said that al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had also lived in Sudan before he moved to Afghanistan in 1996.

His family told the raiding party that Qudus, who is a heart patient, had since gone to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, to "avoid stress" because of the first raid.

"First, they came and arrested my brother. Now they are looking for my father. We do not understand why. No one in the family has anything to do with al Qaida," his daughter said. "We are being harassed to please the Americans."

Earlier Tuesday, Pakistan confirmed that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is in U.S. custody at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

The confirmation, by the country's information minister, comes a day after Pakistan officially denied handing Mohammed over to U.S. authorities.

"We have completed our investigation. The man is with concerned (U.S.) agencies and has been flown out of Pakistan," said Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed.

A senior Pakistani security official said the "CIA or FBI did not participate in the raid that led to his (Mohammed's) arrest but took (him into) custody less than six hours after his capture."

Sources in the Pakistani Interior Ministry told United Press International on Saturday that Mohammed was handed over to a team of CIA and FBI agents soon after his arrest.

Senior officials at the ministry in Islamabad told UPI that Mohammed was first kept at a secret location in Islamabad where a team of CIA and FBI agents questioned him. After the interrogation they decided to move the suspect to the U.S. air base at Bagram near Kabul in neighboring Afghanistan.

But officials in Washington said Tuesday that Mohammed might have already been moved to yet another location, possibly to the American base at Diego Garcia.

A senior Pakistani official called the suspect "a mine of information who can tell us all we want to know about al Qaida operatives and can also lead us to other key al Qaida operatives, if not (al Qaida head) Osama bin Laden himself.

"We believe the investigation may take eight months or more," he added.

Ahmad Abdul Qudus, the son of the religious leader who was hiding Mohammed and two other suspects, also was arrested with Mohammed. There are conflicting reports about the identity of the third suspect but media reports now identify him as Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hawsawi, 34, a native of Saudi Arabia.

Al-Hawsawi is considered a "supporting conspirator" in the indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, who is awaiting trial in Alexandria, Va.

Mohammed, 37, has not been charged in the Sept. 11 attacks, in which some 3,000 people died, but he has been charged in a 1995 terrorist plot. He is the first person of 22 on the FBI's most-wanted terror suspects list to be arrested, and is considered one of bin Laden's top lieutenants. The U.S. government offered up to $25 million for information leading to his capture.

A Pakistani newspaper has also linked Mohammed to the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Pakistani security officials say that computers and discs seized from the house where Mohammed was hiding provided useful information about al Qaida, including attacks the group was considering.

Pakistani officials said that Mohammed was much senior to Abu Zubaida in the al Qaida hierarchy. Abu Zubaida, another close aide of bin Laden, was arrested last March, also in Pakistan.

Mohammed is the uncle of Ramsey Yousef, one of the attackers in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

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