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Pakistan ID's slain man as al-Qaida operative

/ Source: The Associated Press

A suspect slain in a shootout with Pakistani agents this week was a senior al-Qaida operative from Syria behind militant attacks in Pakistan’s tribal regions and against U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan’s interior minister said Saturday.

Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao identified the suspect as Marwan Hadid al-Suri, 38. He died in a gunbattle Thursday after agents acting on tip-off stopped him at a roadblock at Khar, a town near the northwestern tribal region of Bajur.

“He (al-Suri) was in charge of al-Qaida operations against Pakistani forces in North and South Waziristan. He was behind attacks against coalition and Afghan forces in eastern Afghanistan,” Sherpao told The Associated Press.

His identity was confirmed after experts scanned a laptop computer, a diary and some other documents found in his vehicle after the shootout, which left one agent dead and two wounded, a security official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to media.

Al-Suri, said to be an explosives expert, also ran a financial network and had distributed money among terrorists and their families, including a relative of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, the official said. It was not clear when and where he operated the network.

According to information found in the diary, al-Suri had distributed amounts of up to $2,500, the official said. On the computer, there was information on how to use explosives.

However, investigators found no information on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, his top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, or al-Zarqawi, he said.