November 29, 2010

AP Exclusive: Close calls for al-Qaida's No. 2

The dude has managed to stay one step ahead of the grim reaper. But one day.......he will walk into the crosshairs...and the charmed life will end.

AP via Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- The CIA has come closer to capturing or killing Osama bin Laden's top deputy than was previously known during the last nine years, The Associated Press has learned.

Tragically, the agency thought it had its best chance last year at a secret base in Afghanistan, but instead fell victim to a double agent's devastating suicide bombing.

The CIA missed a chance to nab Ayman al-Zawahri in 2003 in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar, where he met with another senior al-Qaida leader(KSM) who was apprehended the next day, several current and former U.S. intelligence officials said.

The fugitive Egyptian doctor may also have narrowly survived a bombing by Pakistani military planes in 2004, the former and current officials said. And a well-publicized U.S. missile strike aimed at him in 2006 failed because he did not turn up at the attack site, they said.

The article mentions a place called Azam Warsak.... in March 2004 a battle took place near there with heavy losses on both sides.....Al Qaeda poured quite a bit of manpower into this fight........and they fought HARD and if this report turns out to be true... we know why....Zawahiri was there and sustained minor injuries.
The next chance to target al-Zawahri came in mid-March 2004, former officials said. A detainee in U.S. custody passed along information about a possible al-Qaida hideout in the mountainous northwest Pakistani region of South Waziristan, where government troops, helicopters and planes were mounting a military offensive against militants.

The CIA passed the intelligence to the Pakistan military, which bombed the village of Azam Warzak near the Afghan border. The former U.S. officials said they later received reports that al-Zawahri was at the scene during the bombing and suffered minor injuries.

...Since confirmed by Taliban sources..
Taliban operatives and Pakistani civilians told AP recently that al-Zawahr iwas injured in the attack. The al-Qaida leader then spent three days in the town of Mir Ali in north Waziristan before heading north to Bajaur, said the militants and locals, all who insisted on anonymity for safety reasons
For more on the Battle of Wana click here.

And the hunt goes on...

By Matt Damon at 01:50 PM | Comments |