The United States does not believe that a man arrested in Cairo is a long-sought senior al-Qaida military leader, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
Instead, the arrested man appears to have been mistaken for the al-Qaida leader known as Saif al-Adel, two U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence information that has not been released publicly.
Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi was arrested on his arrival at Cairo airport from Pakistan via Dubai, Egyptian security and airport officials said.
The FBI has listed that name on its most-wanted list as an alias for the senior al-Qaida leader known as Saif al-Adel. But Makkawi told reporters he was not Saif al-Adel and that he had nothing to do with the terror group since 1989. He said he traveled to Egypt using travel documents issued by the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad.
The FBI said it still is sorting out details of the case.
"We are aware that an individual has been taken into custody and every effort is being made by the U.S. government to verify the identity of the person in custody," said William Carter, a spokesman at FBI headquarters who declined further comment.
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