Det hevdes at britisk politi har tatt en fra innerkretsen i Al Qaida, en som er viktigere enn afrikaneren Ghailani som ble tatt i Pakistan.
Anti-terrorist officials on both sides of the Atlantic last night claimed that one of the 12 terror suspects being questioned at a London police station was one of al-Qaida’s most significant operatives.
They are convinced that Abu Musa al-Hindi, being held at Paddington Green high-security police station, had a decision-making role in the highest echelons of the global network.
Fred Burton, a former US state department anti-terrorist official, said: «He appears to be part of the management cell. All of our counter-terror sources are telling us that he is the big catch.»
According to unconfirmed reports from Pakistan, the British arrests were prompted by information gleaned from Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a 25-year-old computer expert arrested in Lahore three weeks ago, and Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, also arrested there two weeks ago.
Mr Ghailani is thought to have masterminded the devastating attacks on American embassies in east Africa in 1998 and his arrest was seen as a major coup. But officials now believe Mr Hindi is a much more valuable catch.
Despite the prominence which the British and US authorities are attaching to Mr Hindi, very little is known about him, beyond the fact that he was born in Pakistan and is thought to have lived in Britain for several years.