ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan has arrested a Tanzanian al-Qaida suspect wanted by the United States in the 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the interior minister said Friday. He said the suspect was cooperating and had given authorities “very valuable” information.
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani – who is on the FBI’s list of 22 most wanted terrorists, with a reward of up to $25 million on his head – was arrested Sunday in the eastern city of Gujrat along with at least 15 other people, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayyat said.
He said Ghailani has given authorities some useful information. Hayyat would not speculate on whether the suspect had been planning attacks in the United States or Pakistan.
“It would be premature to say anything about this, but obviously we have certain information, some very valuable and useful leads have been acquired,” he said.
A U.S. official confirmed the capture of Ghailani and said it was a significant development because he is an al-Qaida operative who has been indicted for his role in the east Africa bombings.
Ghailani may be able to shed further light on the bombings or have information about terror cells or al-Qaida operatives, the official said.
“This is a big success,” Hayyat said. “As a result of our investigation, it became clear that he was a major figure wanted for the bombings.”
Ghailani, thought to be in his early 30s, is suspected of buying the truck used in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in which 12 people were killed.
He could face the death penalty if convicted of the charges, which include murder of U.S. nationals outside the United States, conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals outside the United States, and attack on a federal facility resulting in death.