KARACHI -- Pakistani agents seized seven suspected Al Qaeda militants and a weapons cache in a predawn raid on an apartment complex in Karachi yesterday, a day after Pakistan vowed to renew its fight against terrorism.
Police found five hand grenades, four handguns, ammunition, and maps of Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, an intelligence officer said on condition of anonymity.
There was no immediate word on whether the arrested suspects were engaged in an active plot. They included two Egyptian and three Afghan men and two Arab women, the officer said.
Police did not identify them or say what rank they allegedly held in Osama bin Laden's terror organization.
"Our information is that these are Al Qaeda people," Information Minister Sheik Rashid Ahmed said. "One is a recognized man."
Neighbors said about 50 to 60 armed officers surrounded the Cassim Complex, a block of 160 apartments in the middle-class Gulistan-e-Jauhar neighborhood where the suspects had lived for two months.
Police moved in at 3 a.m., broke down the door of a fourth floor apartment and brought out the suspects about a half-hour later, residents said. There was no gunfire.
Residents said police also took away three children: an infant carried by one of the women, and two boys ages 4 and 5.
The arrests in this teeming port city of 14 million people came one day after Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, vowed to crush terrorism in his first-ever speech to Parliament.
Musharraf, a key US ally, also held talks Friday on fighting terrorism with US General John Abizaid, head of the American military campaign in Afghanistan.
Yesterday's detentions coincide with stepped-up operations to hunt Al Qaeda fugitives in Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal areas near the rugged border with Afghanistan, a possible hiding place for bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri.
Tribal elders have turned in more than 40 men to Pakistani authorities in the past week, though it is unknown whether any are Al Qaeda members. They are believed to be tribesmen who may have helped shelter the fugitives and fighters of Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime.