Report: Al Qaeda No. 2 Surrounded

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Lefty Wilbury, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,114571,00.html

    Report: Al Qaeda No. 2 Surrounded

    Thursday, March 18, 2004

    Pakistani officials said they believe Al Qaeda's No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri (search) is surrounded near Afghan border.

    Mansoor Ijaz, Fox News' Foreign Affairs Analyst, reported Thursday that according it is "highly probable that the high value target" that has been surrounded is either Usama bin Laden or al-Zawahri," according to Pakistani intelligence sources.

    Pakistani troops and paramilitary forces using artillery and helicopter gunships launched a new assault Thursday against Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects in a tribal region near Afghanistan, two days after a fierce assault that left dozens dead.

    The new push began in Azam Warsak, Shin Warsak and Kaloosha villages in South Waziristan (search), the tribal region that borders Afghanistan, said Brig. Mahmood Shah, the chief of security for the area.

    Army spokesman Gen. Shaukat Sultan said there have been casualties in the new offensive, but he had no details of how many or on which side.

    The operation follows a clash between security forces and suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda holdouts in a fortress-like compound in the village of Kaloosha, just miles from the border. Some 39 people — including 15 troops and 26 militants, died in the raid on Tuesday, the military said Thursday in a statement. Eighteen other suspects were captured.

    The statement said most of those killed Tuesday were foreigners, but it gave no details of nationalities and acknowledged that only two of the bodies had been recovered. No senior Al Qaeda figures are believed to have been among those killed or captured.

    One of the two dead militants whose bodies were recovered was a Chechen and the other was believed to be of Middle Eastern origin, a military official said on condition of anonymity.

    In another part of the tribal region — North Waziristan (search) — attackers launched a rocket and fired gunshots at a Pakistan army post before dawn on Thursday, Sultan said. Two soldiers died and several were injured in the attack, according to an intelligence official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    The official also said that assailants threw a hand grenade at an army truck heading to Miran Shah, the main town of North Waziristan,and that several soldiers were injured. But Sultan denied the incident occurred.

    The fresh operation in South Waziristan began as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell began talks with Pakistani leaders in the capital, Islamabad, on Thursday.

    Powell was meeting with Musharraf, a key ally in the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism. They were expected to discuss the operation in Kaloosha, as well as U.S. efforts to track Al Qaeda and Taliban holdouts on the Afghan side of the border.

    The aim of the operation is to "flush out foreign terrorists from Pakistani territory," Shah told The Associated Press from the northwestern city of Peshawar, a regional capital where he is based.

    Early morning calls from mosques warned residents in Azam Warsak, Shin Warsak and Kaloosha to leave the area, apparently to give the troops more room to operate.

    About a dozen helicopters buzzed over Wana, in South Waziristan, early Thursday, flying toward the operation zone about 6 miles to the west.

    A convoy of army trucks carrying soldiers also passed Wana hours before it started. Later, when the operation began, mortar booms could be heard in the town, from the direction of the battle zone.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Abdur Rauf Chaudhry said extra troops were dispatched in anticipation of the new offensive.

    "Reinforcements have been sent to the area," Chaudhry told AP.

    He said "a few" paramilitary troops are missing since the operation in Kaloosha on Tuesday, with rumors in the region that they may have been kidnapped by the suspected militants.

    The raid in Kaloosha on Tuesday sparked outrage in the tribal region, which fiercely covets its autonomy and has resisted foreign intervention for centuries.

    After the battle, attackers set fire to several military vehicles, some containing weapons and munitions.

    U.S. forces in Afghanistan announced over the weekend the start of an operation — dubbed Mountain Storm — to capture terror fugitives, including Usama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

    On Monday, Musharraf promised to rid Pakistan's tribal areas of foreign terrorists. Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal regions border eastern and southern Afghanistan — the focus of operation Mountain Storm.
     
  2. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/03/18/pakistan.alqaeda/index.html

    Musharraf: 'High-value' al Qaeda target surrounded in Pakistan
    Pakistan army in new al Qaeda push
    Thursday, March 18, 2004 Posted: 1:33 PM EST (1833 GMT)


    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani forces have surrounded what may be a "high-value" al Qaeda target in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, President Pervez Musharraf told CNN.

    "We feel that there may be a high-value target," Musharraf told CNN. "I can't say who."

    The ferociousness of their resistance indicates that the al Qaeda fighters are protecting someone particularly significant, he said.

    The military asked locals to leave and is flying helicopters overhead, "pounding" the area with artillery, he said.

    U.S. and Pakistani officials have said they believe al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden probably is in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.

    Word of the standoff comes after Pakistan announced it has launched a fresh offensive against suspected militants near the Afghan border.

    Hundreds of Pakistani troops backed by heavy artillery and helicopter gunships raided homes in the nation's tribal region of South Waziristan, two days after a fierce assault in the same area left dozens dead.

    On Tuesday, at least 39 people were killed in a raid on suspected Taliban and al Qaeda militants in a fortress-like compound in Kaloosha, close to the border.

    Fifteen soldiers died, while Pakistani forces killed 24 suspects, most of them foreign fighters, military officials said.

    Intelligence officers are also questioning 18 people captured during the raids.

    In retaliation, angry tribesmen torched more than a dozen military vehicles -- some loaded with ammunition -- on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    'Finish the terrorists'
    Pakistani Information Minister Shiekh Rashid Ahmed told CNN on Thursday that "for the first time in the history, Pakistani forces have entered there to finish the terrorists."

    "We are committed against terrorism and we have to pay the price," he said.

    Pakistan forces have launched a number of sweeps for "suspected foreign terrorists" along the border after Afghan and U.S. officials complained they were escaping to sanctuaries in Pakistan.

    About 70,000 Pakistan troops are in the tribal regions and the recent offensive coincides with a major U.S. military operation on the other side of the border in Afghanistan to capture terror suspects.

    Though a spring offensive across southern and eastern Afghanistan, called Operation "Mountain Storm", is yet to be officially launched, U.S. military operations there have been stepped up.

    Powell: Pakistan a key ally
    Earlier Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Musharraf in Islamabad and said Washington will designate Pakistan a major, non-NATO ally, making it easier for the country to buy advanced U.S. weapons.

    His announcement came despite U.S. concern about the recent nuclear proliferation row involving the founder of Pakistan's nuclear program.

    Earlier this year, Abdul Qadeer Khan admitted he gave nuclear weapons technology to other countries.

    But Musharraf has been a steadfast ally of the United Sates in the war against terror, despite considerable pressure from Pakistan's mostly Muslim population.

    Powell told CNN the United States is hoping for further assistance. On Thursday Pakistani forces launched a fresh offensive against suspected al Qaeda and Taliban fighters near the Afghan border.
     
  3. lilcountriegal
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    lilcountriegal Senior Member

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    It cant be Bin Laden... Bush has him hidden away until the November election. :D


    In all seriousness though... I'll keep my fingers crossed its #1 and not #2.
     
  4. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4539021/

    Pakistan: Al-Qaida No. 2 may be surrounded
    Officials say al-Zawahri believed trapped near Afghan border

    BREAKING NEWS
    NBC, MSNBC and news services

    Updated: 1:34 p.m. ET March 18, 2004WANA, Pakistan - Pakistani officials said Thursday that they believed their troops had the No. 2 leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network, Ayman al-Zawahri.

    A spokesman for the Pakistani army told NBC News, quoting the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, that a “high-value target” was cornered in South Waziristan, along the Afghan border, based on the level of resistance Pakistani forces were encountering.

    Musharraf said the identity of the target was unknown, but three other senior government officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that intelligence indicated that the figure was al-Zawhri.

    U.S. military officials in Washington told NBC News that they had no information on the report.

    The development grew out of a new offensive that Pakistani troops and paramilitary forces launched Thursday against al-Qaida and Taliban suspects in a tribal region near Afghanistan, two days after a fierce assault in which dozens of people died.

    The new push began in Azam Warsak, Shin Warsak and Kaloosha villages in South Waziristan, the tribal region that borders Afghanistan, said Brig. Mahmood Shah, the chief of security for the area. The Army spokesman, Gen. Shaukat Sultan, said there had been casualties in the new offensive, but he said he had no details.

    The operation follows a clash between security forces and suspected Taliban and al-Qaida holdouts in a fortress-like compound in the village of Kaloosha, just miles from the border. Some 39 people — including 15 troops and 26 militants, died in the raid on Tuesday, the military said Thursday in a statement. Eighteen other suspects were captured.

    The statement said most of those killed Tuesday were foreigners, but it gave no details of nationalities and acknowledged that only two of the bodies had been recovered. No senior al-Qaida figures are believed to have been among those killed or captured.

    One of the two dead militants whose bodies were recovered was a Chechen and the other was believed to be of Middle Eastern origin, a military official said on condition of anonymity.

    In another part of the tribal region — North Waziristan — attackers launched a rocket and fired gunshots at a Pakistan army post before dawn on Thursday, Sultan said. Two soldiers died and several were injured in the attack, according to an intelligence official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    The official also said that assailants threw a hand grenade at an army truck heading to Miran Shah, the main town of North Waziristan,and that several soldiers were injured. But Sultan denied the incident occurred.

    The fresh operation in South Waziristan began as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell began talks with Pakistani leaders in the capital, Islamabad, on Thursday.

    Powell was meeting with Musharraf, a key ally in the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism. They were expected to discuss the operation in Kaloosha, as well as U.S. efforts to track al-Qaida and Taliban holdouts on the Afghan side of the border.

    The aim of the operation is to “flush out foreign terrorists from Pakistani territory,” Shah told The Associated Press from the northwestern city of Peshawar, a regional capital where he is based.

    Early morning calls from mosques warned residents in Azam Warsak, Shin Warsak and Kaloosha to leave the area, apparently to give the troops more room to operate.

    About a dozen helicopters buzzed over Wana, in South Waziristan, early Thursday, flying toward the operation zone about 6 miles to the west.

    A convoy of army trucks carrying soldiers also passed Wana hours before it started. Later, when the operation began, mortar booms could be heard in the town, from the direction of the battle zone.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Abdur Rauf Chaudhry said extra troops were dispatched in anticipation of the new offensive.

    “Reinforcements have been sent to the area,” Chaudhry told AP.

    He said “a few” paramilitary troops are missing since the operation in Kaloosha on Tuesday, with rumors in the region that they may have been kidnapped by the suspected militants.

    The raid in Kaloosha on Tuesday sparked outrage in the tribal region, which fiercely covets its autonomy and has resisted foreign intervention for centuries.

    After the battle, attackers set fire to several military vehicles, some containing weapons and munitions.

    U.S. forces in Afghanistan announced over the weekend the start of an operation — dubbed Mountain Storm — to capture terror fugitives, including Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

    On Monday, Musharraf promised to rid Pakistan’s tribal areas of foreign terrorists. Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal regions border eastern and southern Afghanistan — the focus of operation Mountain Storm.
     
  5. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    Here to the both of the ragheaded shits being there!!! what a deal!!! Two bastards to the world for the price of one. I hope they arecaught alive...bearly alive, but alive...
     
  6. Aquarian
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  7. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    iran did later admit they had him and let him go because they "didn't know who he was". bullshit!
     

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