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Sources: Suspect may know bin Laden's location

Nephew of alleged 9/11 mastermind among 6 arrested

The October 2000 attack on the USS Cole killed 17 of its crew in Yemen.
The October 2000 attack on the USS Cole killed 17 of its crew in Yemen.

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A top al Qaeda operative suspected of playing roles in the September 11 attacks and bombing of the USS Cole was arrested in Pakistan. CNN's David Ensor reports. (May 1)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Captured this week in Pakistan, a nephew of a reputed al Qaeda mastermind may know the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, sources said Thursday.

The suspect, Ali Abed al Aziz, is a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and a cousin of Ramzi Youssef, who was convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the sources said.

Aziz was among six suspected al Qaeda members captured Tuesday by Pakistani authorities in Karachi. In his mid-20s, Aziz is also known as Amer al Baluchi.

Also captured at the same time was Whalid ba Attash, who also is known as Khallad or Tawfiq.

U.S. officials consider Attash to be the alleged mastermind behind the USS Cole attack in Yemen in October 2000 and to have played a suspected role in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that killed more than 3,000.

Sources told CNN that Attash and Aziz, because of their high-level connections in the al Qaeda terrorist organization, may know something about where bin Laden may be hiding.

President Bush on Wednesday hailed the arrest of Attash.

"He's a killer. He was one of the top al Qaeda operatives," Bush said. "He was right below Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on the organizational chart of al Qaeda. He is one less person that people who love freedom have to worry about."

A senior Pakistani officer, who did not want to be named, said that the six men were planning to attack the U.S. Consulate and other government installations in Karachi when authorities arrested them.

Police found 330 pounds (150 kilograms) of high explosives and a large quantity of guns and ammunition when he was arrested, Pakistan's Information Ministry said.

Investigators said Attash is a former bodyguard of bin Laden and believe he met with two of the September 11 hijackers and was an intermediary between some of the hijackers and Sheikh Mohammed.

No U.S. officials were present at the time of his capture, officials in Washington said, adding that U.S. intelligence provided "information that may have been helpful" in the operation.

CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor and Producer Syed Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report.

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