UPDATE 02/08/08 – From MSNBC’s Deep Background
Where is accused terrorist Adam Gadahn?
That’s what Taliban sources along the Afghan-Pakistan border are wondering about the American-born al-Qaida member. Gadahn, known as Azzam al-Ameriki (Azzam the American), joined al-Qaida in 2003 and has appeared in several bombastic al-Qaida videos since then.[ ]
U.S. intelligence officials have heard the same rumors, but tell NBC News that they have no information to suggest Gadahn is dead. They specifically deny that Gadahn was killed in the same Predator missile attack that killed al-Qaida’s #4, Abu Laith al-Libi, last week near the town of Mir Ali in Pakistan’s North Waziristan province. Gadahn was visiting Mir Ali at the time, according to a local man who describes himself as a friend of Gadahn’s.
American al-Qaida member missing?
Jihadist sources on the Pakistan side of the border are telling local journalists they are worried. One who described himself as a “very close friend” of Gadahn said the 28-year-old California native had until recently been spending most of his time in the populated areas of South Waziristan, near the towns of Wana, Azam Warsak and Shahkai.
The same friend said Gadahn had left for North Waziristan a week before the Predator attack in Mir Ali, where he was supposed to attend “an important meeting”. The friend said that, after the Predator attack on January 31, they lost “all contact” with Gadahn.
“All our friends are worried about him but so far we could not make any contact with him. We had sent two of our friends to Mir Ali to locate him and provide us with details about him,” the supposed friend explained.
He added that other militants who traveled with Gadahn also were missing.
The self-described friend said Gadahn and his comrades may have decided to remain silent due to security reasons, or perhaps Gadahn was killed in the attack.
Gadahn was last heard from on January 6,when a jihadist website posted several links to a 50-minute video featuring Gadahn, released by the media arm of Al-Qaida.[ ]
UNCONFIRMED: Following unconfirmed reports of killing of a high-profile al-Qaeda commander Abu Laith al-Libi, there are now rumours that an American al-Qaeda militant Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki, had been killed in the alleged Predator attack by the US on a house in Mirali, North Waziristan, a few days back.
32-year-old Adam Gadahn, who is American citizen belonging to southern California, has been accused by the US of praising the perpetrators of September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington and attending al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal areas.
According to sources, American officials who are yet to publicly confirm the killing of Abu Laith al-Libi, had reportedly sharing information with western media that most likely another most wanted figure, Adam Gadahn, has also been killed in the air strike by the CIA-operated unmanned drone on a house in Khushali Torikhel village near Mirali town.
According to sources, the American al-Qaeda militant, who has been reportedly spending much of his time in Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, had reached Mirali for an important meeting with other senior al-Qaeda commanders for planning the so-called spring offensive against US and Nato troops in Afghanistan.
However, there were no details whether he arrived in the town when a house reportedly housing some senior al-Qaeda operatives including Abu Laith al-Libi, was blitzed. US military officials based in Afghanistan are reportedly collecting details about those killed in the attack on the house.
Local tribesmen, who were kept at bay by hundreds of armed militants from visiting the house until all the bodies, mostly dismembered, were retrieved, said that US spy planes might have taken pictures of the entire rescue operation as well as of the funeral ceremony.
Like US officials, Pakistani authorities have been constantly keeping silence over what had happened in their jurisdictions. It may be recalled that the US State Department had offered US$ one million reward for capture of Adam Gadahn.
However, some military officials felt that declaring Gadahn as dead in the Mirali incident, the US wanted him to speak for his defense or make some telephone calls so that they target him like rest of al-Qaeda operatives.