ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – One of Al Qaeda's most-wanted leaders evaded a Pakistani army sweep earlier this month along the Afghan border, but some low-level operatives were killed and captured, intelligence officials told The Associated Press on Friday.
Ahmad Said al-Kadr (search), a top associate of Usama bin Laden, was believed to have been in the area during the Oct. 2 raid on three homes in Waziristan (search), a deeply conservative tribal region, according to three officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Al Qaeda financier holds dual Egyptian-Canadian citizenship and is listed among the terror organization's most wanted leaders.
Eight suspected Al Qaeda operatives were killed and 18 others captured in the operation involving hundreds of Pakistani soldiers.
"It was a well planned operation but we failed to arrest al-Kadr," said one of the officials, a senior member of Pakistan's spy agency, known as Inter-Services Intelligence (search).
This week, however, a Canadian newspaper reported al-Kadr had been killed in the raid along with his son; it cited a statement issued by the London-based Islamic Observation Center (search).
But the officials said the newspaper report appeared to be wrong, although DNA tests are being conducted on one of the bodies to see if al-Kadr's son was among those killed.
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Wednesday said one of the men killed in the gunbattle might be a high-ranking member of Al Qaeda. He did not disclose the man's identity.
Waziristan is located in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (search), 200 miles west of the capital Islamabad and just across from Afghanistan.
Bin Laden and his top associates are believed to be hiding in the rugged mountain region, where ultraconservative Pashtun (search) tribesmen are believed to be sheltering them.
Pakistan has been a key ally of the United States in the war on terror and its security agencies have so far arrested more than 450 suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgents.