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Archive for Sunday, April 23, 2006

Slain militant confirmed as al-Qaida operative

April 23, 2006

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— The identity of a terror suspect killed in a shootout with security agents was confirmed as a senior al-Qaida operative behind militant attacks in Pakistan's tribal regions and on U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan, an official said Saturday.

Marwan Hadid al-Suri, 38, died in a gunbattle Thursday after agents acting on a tip stopped him at a roadblock at Khar, a town near the northwestern tribal region of Bajur, near the Afghan border.

"He was in charge of al-Qaida operations against Pakistani forces in North and South Waziristan. He was behind attacks against coalition and Afghan forces in eastern Afghanistan," Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao told The Associated Press in confirming the identity.

Intelligence officials said earlier that al-Suri was thought to be a close associate of Ayman al-Zawahri, the top deputy to Osama bin Laden.

Al-Suri's identity was confirmed by studying a laptop computer, a diary and documents found in his vehicle after the shootout, which also killed one Pakistani officer and wounded two, a security official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to journalists.

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