Sonic Puke
It's all fun and games until somebody pokes out an eye

5/02/2003

A Top Qaeda Member, Tied to 9/11, Is Captured
Links to Al Qauda turning up in Iraq daily...


A top operative of Al Qaeda suspected of playing crucial roles in both the bombing of the American destroyer Cole in 2000 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was captured in Pakistan on Tuesday along with five other terrorist suspects, American officials said today.

Walid Ba'Attash, a Saudi citizen of Yemeni descent who was captured in Karachi by the Pakistani authorities, is the highest-ranking Qaeda leader to be taken into custody since Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the terrorist network's chief of operations, was captured on March 2, American officials said.

Mr. Ba'Attash has been identified by American intelligence officials as an important lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, and deeply involved in many of Al Qaeda's most deadly plots. He is thought to have used many different aliases in recent years, including Tawfiq al-Atash and Tawfiq bin Atash.

American officials believe that Mr. Ba'Attash was the mastermind behind the Cole attack, and was also a leading participant in a critical meeting of Qaeda operatives in Malaysia in January 2000 that may have been called to plan the Sept. 11 attacks. Two of the 19 hijackers involved in the attacks on New York and Washington also attended the Malaysia meeting.

Mr. Ba'Attash has been on the C.I.A.'s list of top Qaeda leaders. Once he is turned over to the United States for questioning, as American officials expect, Mr. Ba'Attash will be the only person in American custody who attended that planning session, and he may be able to provide the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. fresh insight into the inner workings of the Sept. 11 plot.

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