A member of Al-Qaeda’s inner circle. “Pakistan: Suspected Marriott bombing ‘mastermind’ emerges,” by Syed Saleem Shahzad for AKI, September 24 (thanks to C.C.):
Karachi, 24 Sept. (AKI) — The alleged mastermind of last Saturday’s deadly truck bombing of the Marriott hotel in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, has emerged.
The suspect, Qari Zafar (photo), has become part of Al-Qaeda’s hardline Takfiri inner circle. He enjoys the protection of Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and is believed to be hiding out in the lawless South Waziristan tribal area of North West Frontier Province.
Zafar is not only the suspected mastermind of the Marriot bomb blast, but has created a network which will shortly target strategic installations belonging to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, military headquarters in Karachi and police stations across the country, according to security officials.
“Zafar is behind the planning, arrangement of transportation and procurement of explosives for the attack against the Marriott Hotel on 20 September,” a top security source told Adnkronos International on Thursday on condition of anonymity.
“Some of his men have been arrested in Punjab which further confirms his involvement in the whole scheme,” the official added.
The connection to Zafar was established from phone numbers found on the mobiles of some of those arrested in Punjab.
According to security agencies, the chances of arresting Zafar are slim as he rarely moves from his alleged hideout in South Waziristan to visit the various cities of North West Frontier Province.
To most Pakistanis he is an obscure figure, and is considered by security agencies to be a ghostlike figure whose trail went cold after he managed to escape from custody last year.
But he is known to international intelligence services which credit him with fox-like cunning and great bravery when organising and carrying out attacks against identified targets….