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A Pakistani soldier on patrol on the site of a marketplace destroyed in fighting with neo-Taliban forces in North Waziristan (file photo) (epa) April 21, 2006 - Pakistani intelligence officials say they believe a foreign militant killed during a shootout in northwestern Pakistan on April 20 was a close associate of Al-Qaeda's second most senior leader, Ayman al-Zawahri.


The man was known by militants as Abu Marwan al-Suri. Thought to be a Saudi national, he was killed near Pakistan's Bajur tribal region -- and close to the Afghan border -- during a battle with Pakistani security officers.


Reuters quotes a senior security official in the Northwest Frontier Province as saying that the man is believed to have distributed funds in Pakistan and Afghanistan sent from Iraq by the local Al-Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.


He also was thought to have organized attacks on U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan.


(AP, Reuters)

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