by Florian Flade
May 4th, Gulshan e-Iqbal District, Karachi: Pakistani security forces raided a building in the center of the coastal town of Karachi. They arrested the suspected Arab al-Qaida member Muhammad Ali Qassim aka “Abu Suhaib al-Makki”.
According to Pakistani authorities Qassim, who had a satellite phone and GPS tracking devices on him at the time of the arrest, had lived in Pakistan for years with his wife and three children. His nationalities was not confirmed but it is suspected he is either a Yemeni or Saudi citizen of 35 to 40 years old. The Pakistani intelligence ISI believes Qassim took over an important role in al-Qaida after a US drone attack killed the Egyptian Mustafa Abu al-Yazid in May 2010.
Qassim allegedly speaks Pashto and Urdu and was, according to the BBC one of the main couriers between Osama Bin Laden and his deputy Dr.Ayman az-Zawahiri. He traveled a lot around Pakistan and had previously lived in various cities in the country, including Peshawar, Faisalabad and Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs about two weeks ago.
US officials said “Abu Suhaib al-Makki” was not on the most-wanted list of al-Qaida figures and is not suspected of being a member of the terrorist networks leadership. If the reports are true, he was a courier regularly transferring messages from Bin Laden to Zawahiri and vice versa, it is interesting to note that he was arrested only two days after Bin Laden was killed. Did Pakistani intelligence know about the presence of the Arab al-Qaida courier in Karachi? Where they tracking him or did they come across him only because of the intel found in the Bin Laden compound?