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    "Breaking news" from BBC.co.uk:

    Troops ring 'top al-Qaeda figure'


    It is the biggest Pakistani operation against al-Qaeda to date
    Pakistani troops say they have surrounded a senior al-Qaeda leader close to the Afghan border and are preparing to move in within hours.
    President Pervez Musharraf said his troops appeared to have ringed a "high-value target" after fierce resistance in the remote South Waziristan region.

    Other reports quote military officials saying they believe it to be al-Qaeda's Egyptian number two, Ayman al-Zawahri.

    Villagers have been ordered to evacuate an area around the town of Wana.

    Thousands of troops backed by helicopter gunships were deployed in the region on Thursday morning and came under heavy attack from militants, the BBC's Zaffar Abbas reports from Islamabad.

    President Musharraf told the US television network CNN that the extent of the resistance suggested the seniority of the trapped militant, but he would not be drawn on who it might be.

    "It would just be a guess," he said, when asked to name the possible suspect.

    The BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner, cautions that the area being surrounded is 25 square kilometres and there is a chance the militants could slip away during the night.

    If Mr Zawahri was captured, he adds, it would be a major blow to the militant network founded by Osama Bin Laden.

    Key figure

    Egyptian in origin, Mr Zawahri is believed to serve as Bin Laden's spiritual adviser and doctor. He is also the architect of the al-Qaeda ideology.



    In 1998, he was the second of five signatories to Bin Laden's notorious "fatwa" calling for attacks against US civilians.

    He was a key figure in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, which later merged with al-Qaeda.

    Mr Zawahri has appeared alongside Bin Laden in al-Qaeda videotapes released since the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US. His wife and children were reported killed in a US air strike in late November or early December that year.

    He has been indicted in the US for his role in the US embassy bombings in Africa, and was sentenced to death in Egypt in absentia for his activities with the Islamic Jihad group in the 1990s.

    Biggest operation

    Our Islamabad correspondent notes that the military operation is being described as the biggest since the hunt for Bin Laden and his close associates started in the area more than two years ago.


    Zawahri is seen as al-Qaeda's ideologue
    A senior security official said the authorities had laid a complete siege of a large area near Wana and would be going in with a big force in the early hours of Friday morning.

    He said if any senior al-Qaeda leader was among the militants, the security forces would make sure he did not escape.

    Residents in the villages around Wana have been asked to move away from the area through loudspeakers set up in mosques.

    South Waziristan with its mass of mostly arid mountains and hills has been cited many times as the most likely hideout of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda elements.

    Fifteen Pakistani soldiers died there in fierce clashes on Tuesday and 24 militants, thought to be local tribesmen or al-Qaeda suspects, were also killed.

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell praised Islamabad for cracking down on militancy along its border with Afghanistan, during a visit to Pakistan that ended on Thursday.


    ---------------------------

    Any thoughts?
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    (Original post by Mark_KK)
    "Breaking news" from BBC.co.uk:

    Troops ring 'top al-Qaeda figure'


    It is the biggest Pakistani operation against al-Qaeda to date
    Pakistani troops say they have surrounded a senior al-Qaeda leader close to the Afghan border and are preparing to move in within hours.
    President Pervez Musharraf said his troops appeared to have ringed a "high-value target" after fierce resistance in the remote South Waziristan region.

    Other reports quote military officials saying they believe it to be al-Qaeda's Egyptian number two, Ayman al-Zawahri.

    Villagers have been ordered to evacuate an area around the town of Wana.

    Thousands of troops backed by helicopter gunships were deployed in the region on Thursday morning and came under heavy attack from militants, the BBC's Zaffar Abbas reports from Islamabad.

    President Musharraf told the US television network CNN that the extent of the resistance suggested the seniority of the trapped militant, but he would not be drawn on who it might be.

    "It would just be a guess," he said, when asked to name the possible suspect.

    The BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner, cautions that the area being surrounded is 25 square kilometres and there is a chance the militants could slip away during the night.

    If Mr Zawahri was captured, he adds, it would be a major blow to the militant network founded by Osama Bin Laden.

    Key figure

    Egyptian in origin, Mr Zawahri is believed to serve as Bin Laden's spiritual adviser and doctor. He is also the architect of the al-Qaeda ideology.



    In 1998, he was the second of five signatories to Bin Laden's notorious "fatwa" calling for attacks against US civilians.

    He was a key figure in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, which later merged with al-Qaeda.

    Mr Zawahri has appeared alongside Bin Laden in al-Qaeda videotapes released since the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US. His wife and children were reported killed in a US air strike in late November or early December that year.

    He has been indicted in the US for his role in the US embassy bombings in Africa, and was sentenced to death in Egypt in absentia for his activities with the Islamic Jihad group in the 1990s.

    Biggest operation

    Our Islamabad correspondent notes that the military operation is being described as the biggest since the hunt for Bin Laden and his close associates started in the area more than two years ago.


    Zawahri is seen as al-Qaeda's ideologue
    A senior security official said the authorities had laid a complete siege of a large area near Wana and would be going in with a big force in the early hours of Friday morning.

    He said if any senior al-Qaeda leader was among the militants, the security forces would make sure he did not escape.

    Residents in the villages around Wana have been asked to move away from the area through loudspeakers set up in mosques.

    South Waziristan with its mass of mostly arid mountains and hills has been cited many times as the most likely hideout of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda elements.

    Fifteen Pakistani soldiers died there in fierce clashes on Tuesday and 24 militants, thought to be local tribesmen or al-Qaeda suspects, were also killed.

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell praised Islamabad for cracking down on militancy along its border with Afghanistan, during a visit to Pakistan that ended on Thursday.


    ---------------------------

    Any thoughts?


    Cool. I want to see Bin Laden poked and prodded
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    This was on the site earlier, not as in as much detail though.

    It is definitely good news though. I can't believer Bin Laden hasnt been found yet, I mean what are the intelligence services doing? There are only a few specific areas of the middle-east he could be, Pakistan or Afghanistan Mountain regions.

    Hopefully this capture leads to his arrest as well, after all he is 'apparently' an arsenal fan. lol.
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    (Original post by Joey_Johns)
    Cool. I want to see Bin Laden poked and prodded
    By all accounts he is playing scrum half for Widnes this weekend .
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    (Original post by Woodsy)
    This was on the site earlier, not as in as much detail though.

    It is definitely good news though. I can't believer Bin Laden hasnt been found yet, I mean what are the intelligence services doing? There are only a few specific areas of the middle-east he could be, Pakistan or Afghanistan Mountain regions.
    I think that they have known roughly where he is, I just think that they have been waiting for the right time to strike.
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    (Original post by Mark_KK)
    I think that they have known roughly where he is, I just think that they have been waiting for the right time to strike.
    True. I suspect that Bin Laden will die before he is captured though. I've just got a funny feeling.
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    I don't think that he's the kind of fanatic that would gladly kill himself for his cause. I think that he would give himself up rather than die.

    I mean, what has he done all the time? Skulked in caves and made occasional threatening speeches over Al-Jazeera.
    Is this the sign of a brave man fighting for his cause?

    I don't think so - he lurks in the background as a figurehead for Al-Qaeda, helps turn people into religious fanatics, gives them some high-explosives and sends them to their deaths. (Generalising )

    He is a cold, calculating man who is probably quite intelligent (intelligent enough to evade all allied forces) but delights in terrorising people with his suicide army.

    He and his ilk are also giving Islam a very bad reputation, when they represent only a small fraction of the Islamic world.

    Bloody fundamentalism...why do people take books written by people to excercise some control over others in ages past, (Bible, Quran etc.) and then take everything in them to be the literal truth?

    This was a ramble.
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    Well just in case he escapes and someone on UKL spots him...

    http://www.fbi.gov/mostwant/topten/fugitives/laden.htm
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    The Bush administration is collectively Osama Bin Laden, they've spread the cause of Islamic fundamentalism much more effectively and to a wider audience than this bizarre sweepingly general group named 'Al Queda' ever could
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    they havent caught anyone yet and they dont even know if anyone important is there, the pakistanis are saying there is a strong resistancer but this doesnt mean its Al Qaeda's no. 2 there might not even be anyone important, also if there bombing them from helicopters y arent they killed yet? its been going on since tuesday.
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    "He is left-handed and walks with a cane."

    Bet you never knew that about Bin Laden.

    Hmm, mind you, it won't be Bin Laden, its not close enough to the elections for Bush.
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    he deserves woteva he gets
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    hes on dialysis everyday for a kidney problem, hes continually on the run, US troops seeking him are apparently never more than 3 days behind him. they spotted him using a spy plane the other day. its a matter of time

    the main problem osama causes is his wealth which he uses to fund others. i dont see his capture as being the crucial point in combatting terrorism. his role will be passed on and alternative funding will continue to support the terrorist cells.
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    (Original post by MattG)
    hes on dialysis everyday for a kidney problem, hes continually on the run, US troops seeking him are apparently never more than 3 days behind him. they spotted him using a spy plane the other day. its a matter of time

    the main problem osama causes is his wealth which he uses to fund others. i dont see his capture as being the crucial point in combatting terrorism. his role will be passed on and alternative funding will continue to support the terrorist cells.
    i hope they catch him and torture his sorry ass. all those damn people hes killed
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    On a similar subject, whats happened to Saddam?
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    (Original post by piginapoke)
    He's locked up awaiting trial isn't he? Either that or having a pint down the red lion.
    he deserves wotevas comin to him too. terrorists. i HATE them
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    (Original post by piginapoke)
    Hmm what if 'whatever is coming to him' is sitting out his days peacfully in a plush sell with satellite TV and some Dom Perignon on ice?
    he should be shot
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    (Original post by Ollie)
    On a similar subject, whats happened to Saddam?
    its interesting, if the US have interogated him they should have found details of weapons of mass destruction and programs like them. which would be quickly brought to the medias attention. however they are quite quiet about this....
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    (Original post by MattG)
    its interesting, if the US have interogated him they should have found details of weapons of mass destruction and programs like them. which would be quickly brought to the medias attention. however they are quite quiet about this....
    Indeed, if they found something (which they badly need!) they would tell everyone.
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    Saddam ain't a terrorist, fool.
 
 
 
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