A Pakistani man accused of involvement in a 2009 bomb blast in Peshawar has been arrested in Italy, officials say.
The Italian police said Friday that they detained Siyar Khan, 36, on terrorism charges as he was stepping off a flight from Pakistan late on Thursday.
The suspect has been accused of playing an “executing role” in the attack on Meena Bazaar in Peshawar in 2009, one of the worst in the history of Pakistan, which killed 134 people, including women and children. More than 200 people were also injured in the bomb blast.
The attack was blamed on Taliban at the time, although the militant group denied the accusation.
Siyar is also accused of involvement in a potential attack on Pope Francis, with Italian officials designating the suspect as part of an extremist network based in Italy that tried to recruit people from Pakistan to carry out attacks in Rome and Vatican.
Another charge leveled against Siyar is that he sheltered a would-be bomber who entered Italy in March 2010 and is believed to be still at large.
The arrest came nearly two months after police on the island of Sardinia intensified its operations against an alleged terror cell, issuing arrest warrants for 18 suspects who were introduced as former bodyguards of Osama bin Laden.
The cell was active in Olbia, a Sardinian town, where a small Pakistani community lives.
Police have managed to arrest only nine of the suspects, with others believed to have fled to Pakistan before security raids.