RealNews

U.S. Fears Nephews May Succeed Captive

U.S. authorities, still buoyed by the capture of al Qaeda operations chief Khalid Sheik Mohammed, said yesterday they are concerned that his nephews — the brothers of imprisoned terrorist Ramzi Yousef — may be positioned to take over planning of future terror attacks. As FBI agents began running down leads obtained in a search of the house where Mohammed was captured in a suburb of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, counterterrorism officials said they believe that two of Yousef’s brothers, along with a younger cousin, are immersed in planning al Qaeda operations in the United States and Europe. Even before Mohammed’s arrest Saturday, sources said, there were concerns in the U.S. intelligence community that the men had the experience and connections to succeed him. The brothers have been in Pakistan and move easily around the Middle East, officials said, but their whereabouts are unknown. Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and a key conduit for al Qaeda plans, money and personnel in Asia, Europe and the United States, was captured in Rawalpindi Saturday — perhaps the biggest blow to date against the terrorist network. U.S. officials said yesterday that his family members have already been involved in some of the same efforts, though they are not believed to have a similar direct relationship with al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden. Mohammed was the link between bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, who are in hiding, and the rest of the surviving organization, senior administration officials said. Full Story

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