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Terrorists: Man On The Run

One of the most wanted terrorists today is a 36-year-old Palestinian Qaeda leader known as Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, who has been linked to recent Qaeda activity and possibly even Iraq. Wanted by Jordan since 1999, when he allegedly plotted to bomb U.S. targets in Amman, Zarqawi is supposed to be one of Al Qaeda's top experts on chemical and biological weapons. Some investigators believe he is behind a recently foiled London plot to poison food at a British military base with ricin. Jordanian authorities believe Zarqawi was involved in the murder of a U.S. foreign aid official late last year.

Zarqawi evaded capture in Afghanistan after 9-11 by crossing the border into Iran, according to intelligence reports. After sojourning under what some Pentagon officials believe was the protection of Iranian "security forces," Zarqawi supposedly went to Baghdad, where doctors amputated his leg (injured in Afghan fighting) and replaced it with a prosthesis. Later, so the story goes, Zarqawi moved farther westward, via Syria, to Lebanon. Last August, at a terrorist camp in southern Lebanon, he purportedly attended a terrorist "summit" whose participants included Hizbullah militants, Iranian secret agents and a Lebanese Islamist gang called Asbat al-Ansar. According to some reports, Zarqawi also may have traveled to Iraq's Kurdish region to visit a pro-bin Laden militia called Ansar al-Islam, and to the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia, where Qaeda operatives reportedly train with Chechen militants. Not surprisingly, reports putting Zarqawi in Iraq piqued the interest of Pentagon hard-liners eager to find evidence to support their suspicion that Saddam and bin Laden are allied and may have plotted 9-11 together. But neither the CIA nor Britain's legendary M.I.6 put much stock in Zarqawi's alleged Iraqi visits, stressing such reports are "unconfirmed."

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