WASHINGTON – The United States Wednesday offered up to 11 million dollars in rewards to find and capture three Al-Qaeda militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The rewards included a five-million-dollar bounty for the location or arrest of Baitullah Mehsud, who has been linked to the murder of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack in December 2007, plunging Pakistan into a protracted political crisis.
"Mehsud is regarded as a key Al-Qaeda facilitator in the tribal areas of South Waziristan in Pakistan," the US State Department said in a statement.
Mehsud was also described by the United States as a senior leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban, the Taliban Movement of Pakistan.
Militants apparently loyal to Mehsud were accused by Pakistan of orchestrating a January 2007 attack on the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad which killed two people.
A further five million dollars was offered for Sirajuddin Haqqani, a suspected leader of the Haqqani terror network founded by his father.
The group has been linked to Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
In an interview with a US newspaper, Sirajuddin Haqqani admitted to bombing the Serena Hotel in Kabul in January 2008, killing six people, including American citizen Thor David Hesla.
"Haqqani also admitted to having planned the April 2008 assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai," the State Department said.
One million dollars has been offered for information about alledged Al-Qaeda member Abu Yahya al-Libi. A Libyan citizen, Libi escaped from Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan in 2005, after three years in detention.
He is believed to be in hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan, from where he has "appeared in a number of propaganda videos, using his religious training to influence people and legitimize the actions of Al-Qaeda," according to the State Department.
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