WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Pentagon believes Mohammed Atef, a top al Qaida deputy who is related to suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden by marriage, was killed near Kabul, a defense official said.
Atef's death has not yet been confirmed and the circumstances of his reported demise remain sketchy, but the official said Atef was not killed in strikes on buildings near Kabul and Kandahar on Tuesday and Wednesday that were known to contain al Qaida leaders.
Atef's daughter married one of bin Laden's sons in January, The Washington Post reported.
Atef is believed to be one of bin Laden's closest aides and al Qaida's military commander. He is believed to be in charge of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
The FBI included Atef in its initial Most Wanted Terrorist list. U.S. officials said that Atef was allegedly to be bin Laden's second in command in al Qaida. There was a $5 million reward for information leading to the conviction of Atef.
The Justice Department indicted him for his alleged involvement with the Aug. 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya.
The indictment is for murder of U.S. nationals outside the United States; conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals outside the United States; and attack on a federal facility resulting in death.
Atef was also believed to have encouraged the attack on U.S. Army Rangers in Somalia in "military training and assistance to Somali tribes opposed to the U.N. intervention in Somalia."
According to the U.S. indictment, Atef organized armed Somali fighters to oppose the U.N. peacekeeping force there.