From "A Chilling Inheritance of Terror" by Syed Saleem Shahzad, Asia
Times, 30 Oct 2002:
Ever since the frenzied shootout
last month on September 11 in Karachi there have been doubts over
whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed head of al-Qaeda's
military committee, died in the police raid on his apartment.
Now it has emerged that
Kuwaiti national Khalid Shaikh Mohammed did indeed perish in the raid,
but his wife and child were taken from the apartment and handed over to
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in whose hands they remain.
After this suicide
attack, the FBI were onto Shaikh Mohammed in a big way, and, no doubt
not entirely without coincidence, on September 11 they decided on a
showdown at the apartment of Shaikh Mohammed, his wife and child, in
the Defense Housing Authority near Korangi Road. A number of Arabs were
also living in the apartment at the time.
Initially, the joint
ISI-FBI plan was to take Shaikh Mohammed alive so that he could be
grilled, especially as he was believed to have knowledge of other
al-Qaeda cells in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere.
However, as a plainclothed officer climbed the stairs toward the
third-floor apartment, a hand grenade was thrown, and he retreated.
Reinforcements then arrived, and for the next few hours a fierce gun
The FBI, still keen to
take Shaikh Mohammed alive, teargassed the area, and a number of people
were captured. However, despite instructions to the contrary, a few
Pakistan Rangers entered the flat, where they found Shaikh Mohammed and
another man, allegedly with their hands up. The Rangers nevertheless
opened fire on the pair.
Later, the Pakistani
press carried pictures of a message scrawled in blood on the wall of
the flat, proclaiming the Muslim refrain of Kalma, in Arabic: "There is
no God except Allah, Mohammed is his messenger"). An official who was
present in the flat at the time of the shooting has told Asia Times
Online that the message was written by Shaikh Mohammed with his own
blood as his life drained from him.
Subsequently, to their
surprise, the raiders learned that Ramzi Binalshibh had been netted in
the swoop. And nothing further was said of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
But now it emerges that
an Arab woman and a child were taken to an ISI safe house, where they
identified the Shaikh Mohammed's body as their husband and father. The
body was kept in a private NGO mortuary for 20 days before being
buried, under the surveillance of the FBI, in a graveyard in the
central district of Karachi.
The widow subsequently
underwent exhaustive interrogation in the custody of FBI officials,
during which she revealed details of people who visited her husband,
and of his other contacts and plans. News of the death of Khalid Shaikh
Mohammed was intentionally suppressed so that officials could play on
the power of his name to follow up leads and contacts.
read the full article
From "Pakistanis Arrest Qaeda Figure Seen as Planner of 9/11" by Erik
Eckholm, New York Times, 2 March 2003:
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, suspected
of planning the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington and one of
the F.B.I.'s most wanted terrorists, was detained by Pakistani
authorities this morning and is now in American custody, officials
The arrest represented a
major victory in the American-led global search for pivotal leaders of
Al Qaeda — the men who planned the suicide hijacking attacks on the
World Trade Center and Pentagon (news - web sites), as well as other
It is also the most
prominent arrest yet in Pakistan, where more than 400 Qaeda suspects
have been detained and many have been sent on to American custody, in a
cooperative effort that has opened President Pervez Musharraf to
criticism from Islamic political forces at home.
"We have finally
apprehended Khalid Shaikh Mohammed," Rashid Qureshi, a spokesman for
Mr. Musharraf, said late tonight. "He is the kingpin of Al Qaeda."
In Washington today, the
White House issued a statement praising Pakistani and American
officials for what it called a joint operation in capturing Mr.
"Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
is one of Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s most senior and
significant lieutenants, a key Al Qaeda planner and the mastermind of
the Sept. 11 attacks," said the statement, issued by Ari Fleischer
(news - web sites), the White House press secretary.
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