Pakistan Captures Terror Chief, Turkey Holds Off U.S. Troops, Iraq Starts Missiles Destruction
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 1, 2003 Pakistan reported today the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed a top al Qaeda lieutenant during a raid in Rawalpindi.
U.S. officials said he's a mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed more than 3,000. However, Mohammed has not been charged in those attacks. He was wanted for involvement in a conspiracy based in Manila, the Philippines, to bomb U.S. airliners operating out of Southeast Asia, according to the FBI.
News reports said that U.S. intelligence operatives were involved in capturing the terrorist and two other men. Neither the State Department nor FBI had official comment.
The Kuwaiti-born terrorist, 37, is on the FBI's most-wanted terrorists list. A full listing of those men can be found at www.fbi.gov.
In Turkey, Parliament speaker Bulent Arinc voided on constitutional grounds the vote to allow more than 50,000 U.S. troops into the country to establish a second front against Iraq in case of war. He said most legislators present had not voted in favor, and then closed parliament until Tuesday.
U.S. officials said they were disappointed with the action. The vote was extremely close at 264-251 with 19 abstentions.
Iraq began with destruction of its al Samoud-2 missiles. U.N. chief inspector Han Blix praised the move as `` a very significant piece of real disarmament.''
However, White House officials said they consider this another delaying tactic on Saddam Hussein's part. The United Nations had set March 1 as the deadline for Iraq to begin destroying the weapons which independent experts said exceeded Iraq's allowable flight range limit. U.N. officials said they believe Iraq has about 100 of the missiles.