Karachi, Jan. 9 (Reuters): Pakistani police arrested at least two foreign militants after a grenade and gun battle in Karachi today, but officials said it was too early to say if they were members of the shadowy al Qaida group.
A senior police officer said one of the men was apparently a Yemeni national and the other an Egyptian. They had been hiding in a house on the outskirts of Karachi. “They threw four hand grenades at the police, out of which three exploded,” senior interior ministry official Brigadier Javed Cheema said. “Luckily, there were no casualties.”
Abid, a security guard at a nearby building, said police and paramilitary rangers had traded gunfire with the suspects for at least half-an-hour. “The raid started at around 5 am. The men inside the house also threw grenades. We heard four men were arrested,” he said.
Cheema said investigations were under way but it was still too early to establish any link with the al Qaida network of Osama bin Laden.
Hundreds of members of the radical Islamic network blamed for the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US are believed to have taken refuge in Pakistan after the collapse of their Taliban allies in neighbouring Afghanistan in late 2001.
Scores could be in Karachi, a teeming city of more than 12 million people, police say.