RealNews

Senior al-Qaida Agent Captured in Asia

Authorities have captured a senior al-Qaida operative in Southeast Asia who had been assigned to recruit new pilots to conduct Sept. 11-style suicide hijackings in the United States, the White House said Thursday. Hambali, an Indonesian whose real name is Riduan Isamuddin, was detained this week during a joint operation run by the Central Intelligence Agency and a foreign government in Southeast Asia. American officials declined to identify that government, although foreign newspapers reported Hambali was taken in Thailand. He was the operational head of Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional terrorist network in Southeast Asia that is affiliated with al-Qaida. He has been taken to an undisclosed location overseas for interrogation by American officials. A top al-Qaida detainee first told of Hambali’s assignment to find more suicide hijackers not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a senior Bush administration official said. Other sources confirmed his efforts. Hambali also received money earlier this year from an al-Qaida operative in Pakistan, the official said. A U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it is unclear how successful his recruiting drive was, but that he will be interrogated on the matter. Full Story

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