Pakistan says it has arrested a French man accused of being an al-Qaeda militant, despite contradictory claims that a man with the same name and biographical details was killed in 2010.

The arrested man, identified as Naamen Meziche, was picked up in a raid near the Pakistan border in Baluchistan with Iran, officials said. They did not provide further details.

Confusion arose, however, as reports surfaced that a man identified as French national Naamen Meziche was reportedly killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan in 2010.

Western media described the arrested man as "an al-Qaeda operative with links to European jihadi groups".

A report by the BBC says: "Born in 1970 and of Algerian descent, Meziche is an 'important' al-Qaeda member in Europe, experts say."

"He is believed to have belonged to the Hamburg cell that the US says masterminded the 9/11 attacks," it adds.

The description of the man Pakistani forces say they have just arrested, however, matches that of a man killed in 2010 in Pakistan by a US drone attack.

At the time, widely circulated press reports of the dead man called him Naamen Meziche. He was also born in 1970, frequented the Hamburg cell and had links with top al-Qaeda operatives, the reports said.

Authorities this week said the man they arrested was being detained in Quetta.

They described Meziche as close to Younis al-Mauritani, who was arrested September during a joint Pakistani/CIA operation.

A Pakistani official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Meziche was arrested after Mauritani told interrogators that the Frenchman had entered Pakistan from Iran en route to Africa.

"The intelligence agencies have been tracking Meziche since then, and at last, after a successful operation he was arrested. He is being questioned about his purpose for entering Pakistan," the official said, according to AFP news agency.

Mauritani's arrest also took place in Baluchistan, which also borders Afghanistan to the northeast. After his arrest US officials said they believed he was planning attacks in Europe. It is not clear where he was being held.

The arrest comes in the wake of increased tensions with the US over Pakistan's perceived commitment to the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

After the 9/11 attacks Pakistan pledged to work hand in hand with the US to dismantle al-Qaeda.

The relationship between the two powers was strained after a Navy Seal raid found Osama bin Laden living in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad and killed him.

US officials raised questions about whether top Pakistani officials knew of his presence in the city and Pakistan was infuriated that Washington had kept plans for the raid secret from them.

Tensions reached a new high in November after US forces accidentally killed 24 Pakistani border troops.

Pakistan retaliated by closing supply lines to American and Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Who is Naamen Meziche?

According to a profile on Global Jihad's website, Meziche was born in Paris in 1970, is of Algerian descent, lived in Hamburg and was killed by a US strike in 2010 in Pakistan.

According to the profile he often frequented the al-Quds mosque which the website describes as a "breeding ground of the notorious Hamburg Cell".

Previous reports from the Wall Street Journal also described man called Naamen Meziche as "a French citizen of Algerian descent, and a long-time resident of Hamburg".

Meziche was reportedly interrogated numerous times in 2003 by German authorities over the 9/11 attacks. It emerged an associate of the hijackers, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, had called Meziche on 5 September, 2001, as Shibh was leaving Germany for Pakistan ahead of the 9/11 attacks

Meziche denied the allegations and the case was suspended. Meziche was never indicted.

Global Jihad says he was "one of four German jihadists, killed on 10/04/2010 near Mir Ali, Pakistan by a US UAV missiles strike".

At the time the German newspaper Der Spiegel identified the people who died in the US drone attack as : Ahmad Sidiqi, 36, Shahab Dashti, 27, and Naamen Meziche, 40."