An al Qaeda suspect arrested in Pakistan on Sunday night was carrying a computer with maps and details of German and Italian towns saved on its hard drive, according to Pakistani security sources.
Al Qaeda's Abu Farai al-Libbi had the suspect's number in his phone
Could Germany have been a target for a major terror attack? According to reports that a Pakistani terror suspect arrested in Faisalabad on Sunday, it could well have been.
The reports, attributed to information gained by the Associated Press from a Pakistani Secret Service employee, suggest that al Qaeda suspect Osama Bin Yousaf, the operator of a public telephone call shop, was caught in the northeastern industrial city in Punjab province in possession of the computer containing the details of four towns, a number of credit cards, dozens of CDs, three grenades and two AK-47 machine guns with ammunition.
Bin Yousaf has not yet explained why he had the plans of the four towns saved on the computer. Official refused to identify which towns were detailed on the computer.
No intelligence related to imminent attack
There has been no indication of an imminent terror attack in Germany or Italy, but both German and Italian authorities stepped up security in the wake of the London bombings.
Rome is especially jittery after one of the failed July 21 bombers and a number of his family members were arrested in Italy as part of the London investigation.
However, the Pakistani secret service official did reveal that Bin Yousaf's mobile phone records showed a number of calls to Europe over the past week.
A report in the Pakistani Daily Times newspaper stated that the suspect had made a call to a British contact on Thursday, an Italian contact on Friday and two calls to a contact in Germany on Saturday.
After each conversation, he switched his mobile phone off immediately, suggesting he was aware that the secret services could be monitoring his calls in an attempt to learn his location and those of his contacts. Despite his best efforts, Bin Yousaf was arrested in the raid on Sunday evening.
Suspect's number found in al-Libbi's phone
Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao shows a picture of senior al-Qaida suspect Abu Faraj al-Libbi after his arrest in May.
According to a report in the German Spiegel magazine, the Pakistani Minister of the Interior Aftab Khan Sherpao (photo) confirmed that Yousaf had been arrested but refused to give any further details.
He did confirm, however, that the suspect's telephone number was found in the call records of the phone belonging to al Qaeda operations chief Abu Farrai al-Libbi who was arrested in Pakistan at the beginning of May.
It was after the discovery of Bin Yousaf's number in al-Libbi's phone that US and Pakistani intelligence agencies put him on their watch list and tracked him via the Cellular Call Tracking System (CCTS) that was installed in several locations countrywide and which eventually led to Bin Yousaf's arrest.
"He made a phone call to Peshawar on Sunday and was arrested after that. Law enforcement agents were onto him as soon as he finished his call," officials quoted in the Daily Times said.
Bin Yousef admits to al Qaeda membership
The Daily Times also reported that Bin Yousaf admitted being a member of al Qaeda who has supported extremists in a logistics capacity.
Bin Yousaf also admitted that he was trained in guerilla warfare in an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan in 1992, adding that he was injured in combat there in 1993 and had met with prominent al Qaeda leaders in 1995.
"Bin Yousaf confessed to being part of the al Qaeda network and to have provided logistic support to militants," Pakistani officials confirmed.