The Insider: Daily Terrorism Report

Pakistani troops have encircled an area along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border where it is believed that hundreds of militants are trapped in a fierce fight, including perhaps Osama bin Laden's chief deputy and the number two most wanted al Qaeda fugitive, Ayman al Zawahiri, news wires report today. The last four days have resulted in severe gun battles between suspected al Qaeda militants and Pakistani troops; it is reported that at least 41 people — 15 soldiers and 26 suspected militants — were killed earlier this week in fighting in the area. While senior Pentagon officials tell ABCNEWS that they do not believe a "high-value target" is in the area, Pakistani military and intelligence authorities have not ruled out the possibility that amongst those trapped in the mountainous cross-border region could be Zawahiri.

And more on the Madrid investigation — five suspects — three Moroccans and two Indians have been accused of terror crimes. The three Moroccans were accused with the murders of 190 people and belonging to a terrorist group and the two Indians with cooperating with a terrorist group. All five deny any involvement in the attack, saying they were sleeping at the time of the train bombings and said they had no link to al Qaeda.

THE WAR ON TERROR

INVESTIGATIONS

Pakistan

Pakistanis May Be Near al Qaeda's No. 2

Pakistani forces battle fighters near border where bin Laden deputy al Zawahri is believed hiding. (AP)

Fifteen Pakistani Soldiers Killed in Offensive

Fifteen Pakistani soldiers have been killed in heavy fighting with a group of fighters, possibly including a top al Qaeda member, on the Afghan border. (Al Jazeera)

Suspects Arrested Near Pakistan Border

'Semi-senior' suspects arrested near border As Afghan, U.S. troops tighten cordon in al Qaeda hunt. (AP)

Pakistan Hits Villages Seeking Al Qaeda

Thousands of Pakistani army reinforcements were joining a major offensive Friday in tribal villages where al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman al Zawahri, is believed surrounded. Across the border, Afghan authorities reported the arrests of "semi-senior" terrorist leaders. (AP)

Taliban Spokesman: Bin Laden, Al Zawahiri Safe in Afghanistan

Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahri are safe and in Afghanistan, not neighboring Pakistan where an intense manhunt is under way, a Taliban spokesman said on Friday. (AFP)

Spain

Suspects Accused of Spain Terror, Deny Qaeda Link

Three Moroccan and two Indian men held in connection with the Madrid train bombings were accused of terror crimes Friday, but said they were asleep at the time and had no links with al Qaeda, court sources said. (Reuters)

Spain Releases Intelligence Reports

Spanish government releases intelligence reports on bombings to refute charges it lied. (AP)

United States

House Doubles Reward for Capture of Bin Laden

The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to double a reward — to 50 million dollars — for the capture of terrorist Osama bin Laden. (AFP)

Egypt

Egypt Takes Custody of Sons of Suspected Militants

Egypt has detained three extradited sons of Muslim militant leaders, one of them the son of a senior member of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, a London-based Islamist said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Al Zawahri's Mother Visits Other Son in Prison

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