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Official: U.S. has not yet questioned arrested al Qaeda leader

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Al Qaeda leader Younis al-Mauretani was recently arrested in Pakistan
  • U.S. officials have not yet gained access to him
  • A possible terror plot in the U.S. coincides with the September 11 anniversary

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- U.S. intelligence officials tried Friday to pin down a possible terror plot coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, but U.S. authorities have not as yet gained access to Younis al-Mauretani, a senior al Qaeda leader recently arrested in Pakistan.

Al-Mauretani reportedly has sought to attack targets in the United States, Europe and Australia, but a senior Pakistani intelligence official said he was not aware of Pakistan passing along any interrogation information about current threats.

The Pakistani intelligence service arrested al-Mauretani and two al Qaeda associates in the suburbs of Quetta, a Pakistani military statement said Monday.

Osama bin Laden had asked al-Mauretani "to focus on hitting targets of economic importance in United States of America, Europe and Australia," with U.S. targets including gas and oil pipelines, dams and oil tankers, the statement said.

Al-Mauretani was also involved in planning multiple attacks on European countries similar to those in Mumbai, India, in 2008, European intelligence officials told CNN last year.

The possible September 11 anniversary plot was believed to involve three individuals, including a U.S. citizen. U.S. officials believed the threat was a vehicle laden with explosives, but "the intelligence picture is not completely formed," a senior administration official said.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the 2001 terrorist attacks. Bin Laden was killed in a secret U.S. military operation May 2.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh contributed to this report.