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Al Qaeda Kenya bombing suspect killed in Pakistan

Written by: Staff
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NAGAR, Pakistan, Apr 13 (Reuters) An Egyptian al Qaeda member wanted for involvement in the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Kenya was killed by Pakistani forces close to the Afghan border, a Pakistani minister said today.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed named the man as Abdul Rehman, one of the aliases used by Muhsin Musa Matwalli Atwah, for whom the United States has offered a 5 million dollar reward.

''He was involved in the Kenya bombing,'' Ahmed said.

Military sources said the al Qaeda member was killed along with six other Islamist militants in a missile attack by Pakistani Cobra helicopters on their hideout in North Waziristan tribal region just before midnight yesterday.

The air strike was ordered after the military received information, apparently gleaned from other militants detained in the past month, that the Egyptian explosives expert was hiding in a walled compound in Nagar village, six km south of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan.

Atwah, 41, allegedly sat on the al Qaeda consultation council that approved the synchronised attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and injuring thousands.

Another conspirator in the East Africa attacks, Tanzanian-born Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, was arrested in Pakistan in mid-2004.

Wali Mohammad Khan, a commander of local militants in Nagar, earlier denied that any foreigners had been in the compound when it was attacked.

''They were all local tribesmen and the five bodies were immediately buried,'' he told Reuters. The funeral of two others killed in the attack would be held later in the day, he added.

Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt has been infested with al Qaeda remnants and Taliban who fled Afghanistan after US-led forces toppled the Taliban regime in 2001.

A campaign to rid the tribal areas of al Qaeda switched to North Waziristan from South Waziristan last year, and there have been a series of fierce clashes in the past month and over 250, mostly tribal militants, have been killed since early March.

President Pervez Musharraf, a key ally in the US-led war on terrorism, last month warned foreign militants hiding in the tribal region to leave Pakistan or face annihilation.

REUTERS DKS PM2322

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