April 2, 2008

WE ONLY HAVE TO GET LUCKY ONCE...:

A look inside Al Qaeda: The militant is known as Abu Ubaida al Masri, and charting his path reveals his vulnerabilities and those of the terrorist group. (Sebastian Rotella, 4/02/08, Los Angeles Times)

COPENHAGEN — If Al Qaeda strikes the West in the coming months, it's likely the mastermind will be a stocky Egyptian explosives expert with two missing fingers.

His alias is Abu Ubaida al Masri. Hardly anyone has heard of him outside a select circle of anti-terrorism officials and Islamic militants. But as chief of external operations for Al Qaeda, investigators say, he has one of the most dangerous -- and endangered -- jobs in international terrorism.

He has overseen the major plots that the network needs to stay viable, investigators say: the London transportation bombings in 2005, a foiled transatlantic "spectacular" aimed at U.S.-bound planes in 2006, and an aborted plot in this serene Scandinavian capital last fall.

But pursuers have captured or killed his predecessors and have been gunning for him. He prowls Pakistani badlands one step ahead of satellites and security forces.

Although periodic reports of his death have proved false, rumors resurfaced after recent American airstrikes. Asked whether Masri is alive, a Western anti-terrorism official said, "It's a question mark."

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 2, 2008 7:38 AM
Comments

explosives expert with two missing fingers

Comedy gold. Is his bodyguard a knife-fighting expert with no nose?

Posted by: Mike Earl at April 2, 2008 11:58 AM
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