Ali Soufan Quoted: Al-Qaeda Fugitive in Yemen Gets Away Again
July 15, 2011
By Craig Whitlock and Mohammed al-Qadhi
Fahd Mohammed al-Quso, a particularly elusive al-Qaeda fugitive who helped plan the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, once again evaded an attempt to kill or capture him Thursday by dodging a U.S. airstrike in southern Yemen, according to Yemeni security officials.
Quso, 36, a Yemeni who once fought in Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden and knew two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, has a history of improbable escapes that have frustrated U.S. counterterrorism officials for nearly a decade.
The al-Qaeda operative escaped from a Yemeni prison in 2003, survived U.S. airstrike in Yemen in December 2009, and was erroneously reported killed in a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan last year. He has also steadfastly avoided capture despite being on the FBI’s most-wanted list and having a $5 million bounty placed on his head by the State Department.
“I never thought in a million years that this guy was ever going to get out of jail,” said Ali Soufan, a retired FBI agent who interrogated Quso in early 2001 while the al-Qaeda operative was in Yemeni custody for the Cole bombing. “Every time we do a hit on him and he survives, his reputation becomes more significant in al-Qaeda.”
Quso’s most recent close call came Thursday, when he…
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