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Archive for Sunday, August 3, 2008

Taliban denies al-Qaida No. 2 hit by missile

August 3, 2008

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— A Taliban spokesman in Pakistan denied on Saturday a U.S. media report that al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri may have been killed or critically injured in a missile strike.

CBS News reported Friday that it had obtained a copy of an intercepted letter dated July 29 from unnamed sources in Pakistan, which urgently requested a doctor to treat Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant.

The letter was purportedly from Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and said al-Zawahri is in "severe pain" and his "injuries are infected."

"We deny it categorically," Mehsud spokesman Maulvi Umar told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location inside Pakistan.

Pakistan army and intelligence officials said they had no information that al-Zawahri was hit in a missile strike Monday apparently launched by the U.S. in South Waziristan, a volatile tribal region near the Afghan border.

Both bin Laden and al-Zawahri are believed to be hiding in the rugged and lawless tribal regions along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

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