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Top Al Qaeda Suspect Being Given to U.S., Pakistan Says

June 01, 2005|From Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — President Pervez Musharraf said Tuesday that Pakistan was handing over to the United States a top Al Qaeda suspect who was believed to be behind two attempts to assassinate him.

Pakistan announced in May that it had captured Abu Faraj Farj, a Libyan who U.S. counter-terrorism agents say became Al Qaeda's third-most important figure two years ago.

Musharraf said he was not certain whether Farj was in Pakistan or in U.S. custody.

"We have extracted all the information and intelligence from him, and I presume that he may have been deported already to the U.S.," Musharraf said in response to a question at a forum that was organized by CNN and televised live.

Pakistan says Farj was Al Qaeda's operations chief and was behind two December 2003 assassination attempts against Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in Washington's war on terrorism.

Musharraf said Farj had not provided Pakistan with any useful information that might help catch Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He said Farj had denied having contact with Bin Laden and might have relied on a courier network, other members of which have been arrested.

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