On the trail of Al-Qaeda
This is very interesting....let's hope they can make an arrest...
Pakistani troops fighting Islamist militants in the mountains of South Waziristan have picked up the trail of a leading al-Qaeda figure wanted in connection with the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.
The Times was shown yesterday the German passport of Said Bahaji, a close associate of the September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta. The army said that it found the passport and other documents in a mud compound in the village of Shawangai.
The documents, which show that Bahaji, 34, has been in Pakistan since early September 2001, appear to provide the strongest evidence yet of a direct link between Pakistani militants and al-Qaeda’s high command.
The army said that the village, captured this week in the latest effort to drive out militants who have been extending their operations ever closer to the capital, Islamabad, served as al-Qaeda’s command base. The Times saw documents showing the recent presence of other European citizens.
The battle for Shawangai lasted several days. “They were ferocious fighters and we had to battle hard to capture the village,” Lieutenant-Colonel Inam Rashid, the commanding officer who led the assault, said. His men had killed some of the militants but many others had escaped. Bahaji’s fate was unknown.
Another officer said: “We do not know whether he was killed or fled.”
Bahaji, a German citizen born to a Moroccan father and German mother, briefly served with the German Army before coming into contact with al-Qaeda. He was part of the Hamburg cell, sharing an apartment in 2001 with Mohammed Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks.
The passport showed that Bahaji arrived in Karachi on September 4, 2001. A senior Pakistani investigator said that he was accompanied by Abdullah Husayni, a Belgian, and Ammar Moula, an Algerian with a French passport. Both were closely linked with al-Qaeda.