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Arrests amid Karachi 'terror plot'

Some the ammunition found during the raid on Tuesday.
Some the ammunition found during the raid on Tuesday.

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start quote(The plan) demonstrates al Qaeda's continuing fixation with using explosive-laden small aircraft.end quote
-- Department of Homeland Security advisory

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani police have arrested two suspected al Qaeda members -- the latest in a series of arrests linked to alleged plans to attack U.S. facilities in Karachi.

Police arrested Jawad al-Bashar, an Egyptian, and Farzand Shah, an Afghan, late Friday in Pakistan's Baluchistan province. The arrests were based on information from an alleged al Qaeda cell captured Tuesday in Karachi.

Among six al Qaeda suspected arrested Tuesday by Pakistani authorities is Whalid ba Attash. Attash is believed by U.S. officials to have organized al Qaeda's bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

He is also believed to have played a role in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as well as the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.

Attash and two other suspects -- Abu Ammar and Ali Abed al Aziz -- have been handed over to U.S. authorities, Pakistani intelligence sources told CNN.

Highly placed Pakistani government intelligence sources said Attash and the five other suspects captured Tuesday by Pakistani authorities were planning to attack the U.S. Consulate and other government buildings in Karachi.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in an advisory to the aviation community Friday, cited "recent reliable reports" of an al Qaeda attempt on that consulate.

According to a source that read the advisory, it says the plan is similar to a previous al Qaeda plot to fly an aircraft laden with explosives into a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf, and "demonstrates al Qaeda's continuing fixation with using explosive-laden small aircraft."

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security emphasized there is no specific and credible threat of a planned terrorist attack using general aviation in the United States.

Still, the notice encourages the general aviation community to be on the lookout for unknown pilots and clients as well as aircraft with unusual modifications. It also urges them to verify baggage and cargo that is being loaded. The advisory applies to both planes and helicopters.

Authorities hope the detainees may also provide clues as to the whereabouts of bin Laden.
Authorities hope the detainees may also provide clues as to the whereabouts of bin Laden.

Sources in Pakistan believe Attash and Ali Abed al Aziz may also have knowledge about where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is hiding.

Aziz, also known as Amer al Baluchi, is a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- the reputed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, sources said. Aziz is also a cousin of Ramzi Youssef, who was convicted of a role in the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the sources said.

Attash was linked to the 1998 embassy bombing in Kenya by Mohamed al-Owhali, one of those convicted in the bombing, according to a source familiar with the FBI investigation into the incident.

Owhali told the FBI an al Qaeda operative in Afghanistan named "Khallad" gave him the mission, according to the testimony of an FBI agent at the trial. The source familiar with the investigation told CNN in 2001 that the "Khallad" referred to was Attash.

The source also said security videotape in Malaysia showed Attash meeting with suspected September 11 hijackers Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hamzi at a Kuala Lumpur hotel in 2001.

The Attash family is a prominent Saudi family, the source said.

-- CNN Producer Syed Mohsin Naqvi, CNN Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve, Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena, and National Security Correspondent David Ensor contributed to this report.

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