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Monday, April 13, 2009

Dead men plotting terror?

UK officials believe foiled attack was planned by Rashid Rauf

WASHINGTON: How could Rashid Rauf, a "high value" Al Qaeda target, be plotting terrorist attacks in Britain in April 2009 – as claimed by the British authorities – if he was killed months ago in a famous drone strike in Waziristan, as US officials claimed, in November 2008, the Nesweek magazine is asking.

According to one UK expert, some British investigators as well as Rauf's family think that he may have survived.

Rauf, a former British resident, was allegedly a central figure in an August 2006 plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners. The plot was foiled after Rauf was arrested in Pakistan. But in December 2007, he escaped from custody. US officials suspected 'inside' help and the White House was delighted when a Predator operation supposedly took him out. Soon afterwards, however, Rauf's Pakistani lawyer asked authorities to produce the body which they were apparently unable to do.

US officials talking to the Newsweek said US agencies still believed Rauf was killed in the strike.

"While it is not 100 percent confirmed," said one of the officials, "there are good reasons to believe Rashid Rauf is dead."

"And even if he's dead," the magazine says, "US and UK officials said it's possible the Easter plot was hatched prior to November 2008 — meaning that Rauf's reach may extend beyond the grave."

Daily Times Monitor

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