Washington, Aug 2: If a CBS News report is to be believed, al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri has reportedly been critically injured, and might be possibly dead.
The report is based on a copy of an intercepted letter from sources in Pakistan, which urgently requests a doctor to treat al-Zawahiri. If injured and alive, he is believed to be somewhere in Pakistan's remote tribal areas of Pakistan, said the report. The letter refers to Sheikh Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri by name, and says that he is in "severe pain" and his "injuries are infected". It is reportedly written by local Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud whose signature and seal are visible on the letter, added the paper.
Experts have confirmed that the Taliban logo and the Mehsud's seal are legitimate. The letter is dated July 29, one day after a US air strike that killed al Qaeda weapons expert Abu Khabab al-Masri, and five other Arabs in South Waziristan.
Meanwhile, US authorities have said that they do not have information that al-Zawahiri was present during Monday's strike, or that he was injured. However, a counter-intelligence expert and other US officials confirmed that they were looking into reports that al-Zawahiri was dead.
While there have been false death rumours regarding al-Zawahiri before, there have been no denials yet from Pakistan, the US or al Qaeda websites.
The report said that he was in "severe pain" and that his injuries were "infected".