India-Pakistan: September 15, 2002

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In Kashmir, rebels attempted to assassinate the state Tourism minister, but failed (for the second time in a week.) The minister, Sakina Itoo, is the only woman  in the Kashmir government cabinet. The rebels are trying to disrupt the state elections tomorrow. So far, rebels have killed 24 political activists.

Elsewhere in Kashmir, eight rebels and three civilians were killed. 

Pakistan are handing over to the US, al Qaeda leader Ramzi bin al-Shaiba, who was captured by Pakistani police last week. Another eleven al Qaeda members were captured recently, but their names have not been released. One of the eleven is believed to be an al Qaeda leader, but the prisoners are not cooperating and interroga will take a while. The al Qaeda group was traced, by US intelligence agencies, through their use of a satellite phone. Al Shaiba has admitted, in a recent al Jazeera interview, that he was one of the planners of the September 11, 2001 attacks.  Apparently al Shaiba was the 20th hijacker, but was unable to get a visa to enter the US. 

Of the thirty or so known al Qaeda leaders, a dozen have been captured, and 15-20 are still believed alive and in hiding. It's unknown exactly which leaders were killed, because the bodies were either obliterated by bombs, or buried in caves. Even most al Qaeda members don't know exactly which of their senior people are alive and which are dead. The most likely place for many of the al Qaeda leaders to be hiding is in Pakistan, where there are thousands of Islamic militants who support al Qaeda. There are many areas in the Pakistani countryside, and some of the large cities, where the police have little presence. But the Pakistani military and police intelligence are able to collect information, and have been able to launch several successful raids on al Qaeda hideouts. US intelligence organizations are using their electronic and satellite surveillance capability to aid the hunt. 

 

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