backup of the Memory Hole article
Khalid Resurrection:  KSM, killed in 2002, arrested in 2003, alive in custody of Pakistan
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Recently Captured al Qaeda Leader
Was Killed Last Year

>>> 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 battle blazed.

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.

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>>> 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 said.


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 terrorist acts.

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. Mohammed.

"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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But wait, it gets even weirder! In "Official: Key Al Qaeda Suspect Still in Pakistan," published on 2 March 2003, Reuters news agency reports:

Pakistan's interior minister denied reports on Sunday that suspected September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been handed over to the United States and said he was still in Pakistan.

President Pervez Musharraf's spokesman Rashid Qureshi also said Mohammed was in Pakistan and was being jointly interrogated by Pakistani and U.S. agents.

Earlier, a government official who did not want to be identified said Khalid had been handed over to U.S. custody shortly after his arrest, along with two other al Qaeda suspects, in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi on Saturday.


[Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said:] "Only when Khalid's country approaches us and makes a formal request for his extradition, only then will the Pakistani government hand him over."

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