Islamabad: A senior al-Qaeda leader, Younis Al Mauritani, responsible for planning and conduct of groups international terror operations was nabbed by Pakistani army with technical support from the US intelligence, in first such joint-operation since the death of Osama bin Laden.

Al Mauritani was nabbed along with two other senior al- Qaeda operatives, Abdul Ghaffar Al Shami and Messara Al Shami from suburbs of the southwestern city of Quetta, an army statement here said.

Al Mauritani was tasked personally by slain al-Qaeda chief bin Ladan to focus on hitting targets of economical importance in US, Europe and Australia.

He was planning to target American economic interests including gas and oil pipelines, power generating dams and strike ships and oil tankers through explosive-laden speed boats in international waters, the army said.

Through this critical arrest yet another fatal blow has been delivered to al-Qaeda, it added.

In a possible bid to show nothing was wrong in Pak-US relations, the statement said the operation was planned and conducted with technical assistance of American intelligence agencies with which ISI "has a strong, historic intelligence relationship".

"Both Pakistan and United States intelligence agencies continue to work closely together to enhance security of their respective nations.

"The intimate cooperation between Pakistan and United States intelligence agencies has resulted into prevention of number of high profile terrorist acts not only inside Pakistan/United States but elsewhere also in world," it said. Since the arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis in January this year and especially after the May 2 US raid that killed bin Laden, US-Pak relations had hit an all time low.

The US had even withheld about USD 800 million in military aid to Pakistan.

Pakistan too had sent back a number of US defence personnel posted in the country and had even put strict restrictions on the movement of foreign diplomats.

(Agencies)