Al Qaeda "crumbling" after arrest of embassy bomber


A top al Qaeda operative, one of the world's most wanted men, has been captured in Pakistan and a senior government minister said Friday that the network supporting Osama bin Laden was crumbling.

The Tanzanian-born Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani had a $5 million reward on his head, and is wanted by the United States for his role in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed 224 people.

Investigators are scouring a computer and several disks seized when they captured Ghailani and 13 others after a 14-hour gunbattle with security forces last weekend in the city of Gujarat, 110 miles southeast of Islamabad, intelligence sources told Reuters Friday.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat told Reuters he was sure the African would prove a rich source of information on the al Qaeda network that is supporting the fugitive bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri.

Both are believed to be hiding out in rugged mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

"Osama bin Laden or al-Zawahri don't work in isolation," Hayat said. "They work through these networks."

The minister said those networks are "obviously in the process of crumbling at this point of time."


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