Police on Tuesday arrested top al-Qaeda linked suspect Qasim Tori in the southern port city of Karachi after he was injured during a car chase.
Tori was fleeing from police when a grenade exploded accidentally inside his car, killing one of his alleged accomplices and injuring Tori. A third man is reported to have escaped.
Tori hailed from an al-Qaeda affiliated organisation, Jundullah, formed in the lawless the South Waziristan tribal areas of Pakistan in 2003 and now works under pro-Taliban militant commander Baitullah Mehsud.
The Pakistani authorities have claimed Mehsud ordered the killing of late Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on 27 December.
Jundullah carried out an attack against a Karachi corps commander in 2004. The corps commander survived but a number of army officials were killed in the attack.
Several Jundallah members were arrested soon after the incident, but Tori, who was allegedly involved in the attack, remained a fugitive.
Unnamed sources said that busting this cell revealed that al-Qaeda has once again activated its sleeper cells in the bigger cities of the country to wage war against the Pakistani security forces.
A police official present on the spot told AKI on condition of anonymity that police had acted on a tip-off that a criminal group allegedly involved in a major bank heist was present in the eastern part of the city.
Police staged a raid on a property to arrest the purported robbers, but police officers were stunned when they were fired upon with light machine guns, typically used by militants.
After a three-hour siege, police pulled back and asked the Pakistan Rangers paramilitary force to send reinforcements. Around four security force members were reportedly killed in the standoff.
The police retreat enabled the occupants of the house to jump from the second floor of the house onto sandy ground, where they had cars ready to make their getaway.
When Pakistan Rangers reached to the scene, they found a few women with small children left behind, as well as man who had been abducted from Karachi, named Abid Qureshi.
A senior police official told AKI on condition of anonymity that he found a mind-boggling array of arms and ammunition in the property, ranging from light machine guns to rocket propelled grenade launchers and ammunition. The arsenal would have enabled the house’s occupants to fight for several days.