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US slaps sanctions against 3 Qaeda leaders in Pak

As a result of sanctions, US citizens are prohibited from engaging in transactions with the three.



Washington: The US has slapped sanctions
against three al Qaeda leaders based in Pakistan, including
Abu Yahya al-Libi, considered as its propaganda chief, and one
key facilitator of the terror network, striking at the "heart"
of the group`s remaining leadership.

The three leaders are commander al-Libi; senior leader
Abd al-Rahman Ould Muhammad al-Husayn Ould Muhammad Salim; and
al Qaeda facilitator, courier and operative Mustafa Hajji
Muhammad Khan, the Department of Treasury said.

As a result of the sanctions, American citizens are
prohibited from engaging in transactions with the three and
any assets they may hold under US jurisdiction are frozen.

"We are targeting two of al Qaeda`s top strategists and
commanders in Pakistan, as well as a senior facilitator,
striking at the heart of al-Qaeda`s remaining leadership and
its operations in Pakistan," said Under Secretary for
Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S Cohen.

The Treasury said Al-Libi is a senior al-Qaeda leader and
commander in Pakistan responsible for the supervision of other
senior network operatives.

Referred to as al Qaeda`s propaganda chief, al-Libi; senior leader
Abd al-Rahman Ould Muhammad al-Husayn Ould Muhammad Salim; and
al Qaeda facilitator, courier and operative Mustafa Hajji
Muhammad Khan, is one
of the group`s most prominent public figures and plays a key
role in its media operations. As of April 2010, al-Libi had
released 68 messages on behalf of al Qaeda and was second in
public visibility only to Ayman al-Zawahiri.

According to the Treasury, the other target Abd al-Rahman
Ould Muhammad al-Husayn Ould Muhammad Salim also known as
Younis al-Mauritani, is a Pakistan-based senior al Qaeda
leader who was in charge of its external operations as of
mid-2010 while Mustafa Hajji Muhammad Khan, has acted as an al
Qaeda facilitator, courier and operative since at least 2003.

As an authoritative voice for al Qaeda, al-Libi, who was
deputy to the now-slain senior leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman,
has urged Pakistanis to attack their government.

As of 2010, al-Libi commanded a group of as Qaeda fighters
and provided financial assistance to al Qaeda fighters in
Afghanistan. He was also a field commander in Afghanistan and
an instructor at a training camp.

Salim, on the other hand, participated in the formation of
al Qaeda`s affiliate organisation al Qaeda in the Islamic
Maghreb (AQIM). As of late 2010, Osama bin Laden devoted most
of al Qaeda`s funds to a plan developed by Salim to ostensibly
damage the economy of Europe.

As of mid-2010, Salim was in Pakistan to speak to
individuals regarding their participation in al Qaeda
operations in Europe. Salim joined the Salafist Group for Call
and Combat (GSPC) in 2001.

He had served as a communications link between the GSPC
and al Qaeda and was sent by GSPC leaders to Pakistan to forge
the 2007 merger with al Qaeda that formed AQIM.

As of late 2009, Salim provided weapons and explosives
training to GSPC members in Mali, including the use of AK-47
assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

In 2006, Salim provided basic weapons training on the
AK-47 assault rifle to GSPC members.

Salim has fought for the GSPC in Mauritania, and has been
wanted in Mauritania since late 2009 for planning a 2005 GSPC
attack against the Mauritanian military and for forging the
merger between the GSPC and al Qaeda, the Treasury said.

The Pakistani military reported on Monday that Salim was
arrested near Quetta, Pakistan.

Finally Mustafa Hajji Muhammad Khan, has acted as an al
Qaeda facilitator, courier and operative since at least 2003.

As of 2010, Khan facilitated activities for senior
Pakistan-based al Qaeda operatives.

Khan has also been active in facilitating the travel of al
Qaeda members, including escorting an individual to meet with
another member in 2009.

On al Qaeda`s behalf, Khan recruited a facilitator who
helped him move people and money between Gulf countries and
Pakistan.

In 2007, Khan helped al Qaeda reestablish logistic support
networks in Pakistan. He once served as a messenger between al
Qaeda and former al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In 2003, he accepted a senior al Qaeda leader`s request to
serve as an al Qaeda representative to al-Zarqawi and deliver
a message to al-Zarqawi in Iraq.

He attempted to deliver a letter from al-Zarqawi to Usama
bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, but was captured with the
letter, which never reached bin Laden or al-Zawahiri; the
Treasury said.

PTI

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