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Has Bin-Laden's Senior Aide Been Killed In US Raid
The Independent (UK) ^ | 12-05-2001 | Andrew Gumbel

Posted on 12/04/2001 3:26:35 PM PST by blam

Has bin Laden's senior aide been killed in US raid?

War on terrorism
By Andrew Gumbel
05 December 2001

Osama bin Laden may be the man with the name recognition and the worldwide notoriety, but his nominal number two, the Egyptian doctor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, may have played a bigger role in the decision to bring their brand of jihad to the United States and launch the attacks of 11 September.

Yesterday, Northern Alliance commanders claimed Dr al-Zawahiri had been severely wounded and possibly killed in a US air raid in the White Mountains area of eastern Afghanistan. That would mean the leadership of Mr bin Laden's al-Qa'ida organisation had been all but decapitated in the wake of earlier losses. It would also suggest Mr bin Laden may not be far off facing capture or death himself.

The noose around al-Qa'ida has been steadily tightening since the military collapse of their political sponsors, the Taliban, in the first half of November. The man believed to have been the operational mastermind behind the assault on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, Mohammed Atef, was killed in a US air strike on 15 November as he fled Kabul.

The rest of al-Qa'ida's senior leadership was forced to go to ground in a hurry, leaving behind incriminating documents and information on the organisation's membership in several places in Kabul and other cities. The search for al-Qa'ida leaders has since focused on two areas; near Kandahar in the south and in the area known as Tora Bora in the White Mountains near Jalalabad, where British and American special forces are starting to penetrate the complex of caves.

When Mr Atef was killed, Mr bin Laden lost the man he had earmarked as his successor. They were also related, after the marriage of Mr Atef's daughter to Mr bin Laden's oldest son, Mohammed, at a much-publicised ceremony in Kandahar last January.

Dr al-Zawahiri has been, if anything, an even more pivotal figure, a mentor, an ideologue, a smart political thinker and someone with broader experience of almost every aspect of guerrilla warfare, from attacks on civilians to embassy bombings and political assassination.

The 50-year-old paediatric surgeon became involved in radical Islamic politics when he was a teenager, and was arrested at 15 for his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

He spent much of the Seventies building up the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group that would end up eclipsing Egypt's other fundamentalist movements and posing the gravest threat to the country's US-backed secular leadership under its de facto dictatorial president, Hosni Mubarak.

Dr al-Zawahiri was arrested in the wake of the assassination of President Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, in 1981 and spent three years behind bars for illegal possession of firearms after Egyptian intelligence services failed to pin the killing on him.

In the mid-Eighties, he left Egypt for Saudi Arabia, then travelled to the Afghan-Pakistan border where he met Mr bin Laden and combined his medical expertise, tending to the wounded of the mujahedin, with his ever-evolving political radicalism.

In the Nineties, he wrote several books promoting his ideology and moved freely among several western countries, including Switzerland, Denmark and the United States, thanks to well-designed disguises and false documents.

His ability to identify targets and eliminate them became legendary, particularly after the murder of an Egyptian intelligence officer in Geneva and the suicide bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, all in 1995. In both cases, the effort to rein in the fundamentalist movement was dealt a severe setback.

In 1998, Dr al-Zawahiri decided to merge his Jihad movement with al-Qa'ida, even at the risk of alienating some of his followers. He provided the expertise, the intelligence and the radical anti-Americanism. Mr bin Laden, up till then more interested in overthrowing the monarchy in his native Saudi Arabia, co-authored an anti-American fatwa and provided the money to execute it.

The rest is well-established history, from the twin US embassy bombings in Africa in August 1998 to the events of 11 September. Others may have provided the logistics and manpower for these deadly attacks, but without Dr al-Zawahiri it is doubtful they could have been pulled off so spectacularly

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
This article has more detail about this story.
1 posted on 12/04/2001 3:26:35 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Hey Osama, I've got your fatwa...right here!
2 posted on 12/04/2001 3:35:03 PM PST by spanky_mcfarland
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To: blam
The Al-Qa'ida network

War on terrorism
05 December 2001
Ayman Al-Zawahiri

Reported to have been wounded, possibly killed, in an air strike near Jalalabad on Monday. Founder of the Egyptian Jihad movement, he merged it with al-Qa'ida in 1998 and moved to Afghanistan. Aged 50, he is believed to be the political brain of al-Qa'ida.

Saif Al Adel

Born in Egypt in either 1960 or 1963, he has been identified by Tony Blair and the FBI as a top member of al-Qa'ida. A former member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, he is wanted in connection with the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa. He is believed to be in Afghanistan.

Mohammed Atef

Killed in an air strike near Kabul on 15 November. A longtime member of Egyptian Jihad, he joined Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan three years ago. Believed to have been the operational mastermind behind the 11 September attacks.

Abu Zubaydah

Also known as Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn. Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1971. Believed to be responsible for al-Qa'ida's external relations and, according to some reports, fourth in the chain of command behind Osama bin Laden.

Ahmed Abdel-Rahman

Captured by the Northern Alliance last month. Not considered a major figure in al-Qa'ida but had great symbolic importance as the son of Omar Abdel-Rahman, the so-called "blind sheikh".

Mohammed Salah

Believed to have been killed in early November in bombing near the Afghan-Pakistan border. He is Egyptian and said to have been one of al-Qa'ida's top 20 commanders.

Osama Bin Laden

America's Public Enemy Number One has been unseen, either in person or on videotape, for several weeks, and is believed to be hiding in a mountain cave near Kandahar or in the Tora Bora region near Jalalabad. Although he is the undisputed symbol of al-Qa'ida and militant anti-Americanism throughout the Islamic world, there are conflicting reports on the 44-year-old's continuing day-to-day leadership of al-Qa'ida and about his state of health.

Tariq Anwar Al-Sayyid Ahmad

Believed to have been killed with Mohammed Salah and to have held similar rank in al-Qa'ida. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1963, and was deployed on "special operations".

Ali Mahmud

Reputedly al-Qa'ida's finance chief. A mujahedin commander says he was killed with 17 Arab fighters by a US bomb attack on caves in the Melawa area of the White Mountains.

3 posted on 12/04/2001 3:37:32 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
interesting article. i just listened to fox, but consumer reporter geraldo rivera, who was doing a piece on cooking oil being available for sale in the souks in afghanistan, made no mention of it. (my suspicion is that his eagerness to go there appeared coincident with the reports that the taliban intended to flood the market with cheap, uncut drugs.

here's hoping it's true, and that the diaperheaded sonofabitch takes up residence in hell posthaste (i mean al-zawahiri, not geraldo).

a few down, many, many to go.


4 posted on 12/04/2001 3:41:05 PM PST by dep
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To: blam
It's important to keep in mind that it is on Zawahiri's interest for everyone to think he is dead.

I want to see a photograph of the corpse.

5 posted on 12/04/2001 4:26:15 PM PST by beckett
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To: blam
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6 posted on 12/04/2001 6:57:22 PM PST by WIMom
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