Peshawar, Oct. 16 (Reuters): Pakistani security agencies are trying to track down a Canadian, believed to be an al Qaida financier, who escaped a recent raid near the Afghan border, intelligence officials said today.
Eight suspected al Qaida fighters were killed and 18 arrested on October 2 when Pakistani forces swooped on a hideout near the border town of Angor Adda in the tribal South Waziristan region.
An intelligence official said the Egyptian-born Canadian identified as Ahmed Said Khadr, alias Abu Abdur Rehman, nicknamed Al-Canadi, was thought to be hiding in one of the mud-built houses when the raid was launched but slipped away.
“He was expected to be there but somehow got away before the operation”, the official said.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) website quoted the Islamic Observation Centre in London as saying that Khadr and his teenage son were killed in the raid, but the Pakistani officials said that only Khadr’s son was killed and he himself was alive.
Canadian High Commission officials in Islamabad were not immediately available for comment.
Pakistani intelligence officials said Khadr had helped organise attacks on a small US base at Shkin in Afghanistan, close to the Pakistani border.
Khadr, said to be in his 50s, was running a charity, Human Concern International, that was allegedly sending money to al Qaida training camps in Khost, Darunta near Jalalabad and Kabul, they said.
He was arrested in 1996 in Pakistan on suspicion of financing the bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad in 1995 which killed several people.
CBC News said he was released after the intervention of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.