(AKI) – Security agents in the eastern city of Pakistani city Lahore have arrested two French nationals suspected of belonging to an international terror group, French and Pakistani sources said late Thursday.
The pair, who have not been identified publicly, were arrested at a bus stop in the Lahore in late January after going there from the airport with a man identified as Tahir Shehzad, a Pakistani intelligence official said.
The Frenchmen are suspected of being part of the group responsible for the bloody attacks in Bali, Indonesia in 2002 that killed 202 people, the worst terror attack in Indonesia, according to Pakistani security officials, who requested anonymity.
The terror group is allegedly headed by Indonesian Umar Patek, is suspected of having ties to Al-Qaeda and was himself arrested recently in Pakistan following a ten-year manhunt that involved cooperation with the CIA.
The Frenchmen had intended to travel with Patek to Pakistan’s North Waziristan region where top Al-Qaida commanders are based, the Pakistani officials said.
France has asked the Pakistani authorities for permission to visit the two detainees, a representative at the French embassy in Islamabad told media.
It was not immediately clear if the men were suspected of plotting a terror attack. One of the French citizens is of Pakistani origin and the other is a convert to Islam, the Pakistani official said.
There are an estimated five million Muslims in France, Western Europe’s largest Muslim population.