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AL-ZAWAHIRI: DEAD OR ALIVE?

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 13, 2006 07:55 PM

Andrew Cochran at The Counterterrorism Blog is tracking the latest rumors of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s possible demise.

Check out Zawahiri’s FBI Most Wanted Terrorist poster.

zawahiri002.jpg

ABC News
reports:

Today, according to Pakistani military sources, U.S. aircraft attacked a compound known to be frequented by high level al Qaeda operatives. Pakistani officials tell ABC News that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant, may have been among them.

U.S. intelligence for the last few days indicated that Zawahiri might be in the location or about to arrive, although there is still no confirmation from U.S. officials that he was among the victims.

The attack took place early this morning Pakistan time in a small village a few miles from the border with Afghanistan.

Villagers described seeing an unmanned plane circling the area for the last few days and then bombs falling in the early morning darkness.

Eighteen people were killed, according to the villagers who said women and children were among the fatalities.

But Pakistani officials tell ABC News that five of those killed were high-level al Qaeda figures, and their bodies are now undergoing forensic tests for positive identification.

1/14 update 9amEST. Looks like he’s alive.

Two senior Pakistani officials have confirmed that al Qaida second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri was not at the site of a US air strike near the Afghan border.

The officials said that Pakistan’s own investigation concluded that al-Zawahri was not in Damadola village where 17 people were killed in the strike on Friday.

“Their information was wrong, and our investigations conclude that they acted on false information,” said a senior intelligence official who has direct knowledge of the investigations launched by Pakistan to look into the attacks.

Separately, a senior government official said al-Zawahri was not present at the homes which were attacked.

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