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Al Qaeda Hobbled by Latest Arrest, U.S. Officials Say

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Al Qaeda’s chief of operations, appeared to be in constant motion, communicating round- the-clock, law enforcement officials said, with dozens of his foot soldiers and lieutenants. He was often seen talking on one mobile phone while simultaneously sending a text message on a second mobile phone, detainees have told interrogators. Among Al Qaeda’s remaining leaders, Mr. Mohammed’s reach and continuing communications abilities extended deepest throughout the far-flung terror network, American and foreign intelligence officials said. Hundreds of captured Qaeda operatives acknowledged during debriefings that they had had a recent conversation with Mr. Mohammed, a 37-year-old born in Kuwait, who was turned over to American officials today after his predawn capture on Saturday at a house in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Often the captured suspects had no knowledge of each other, intelligence and law enforcement officials said, but they had all been in contact with Mr. Mohammed. Mr. Mohammed’s arrest has therefore severely damaged — although not wholly impaired — Al Qaeda’s ability to organize and execute spectacular attacks, and leaves a vacuum in the network’s hierarchy, intelligence and law enforcement officials said. Full Story

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