US officials: Core al-Qaida ‘essentially gone’

Apr 27, 2012, 8:16 PM

AP Intelligence Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. intelligence officials say almost a year after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida is essentially gone, but its affiliates still present a threat to the U.S. homeland.

One official says core al-Qaida’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahri still aspires to hit the U.S., but the threat of a sophisticated, multi-pronged attack has “substantially decreased.” The official was authorized to speak only on condition of anonymity.

Robert Cardillo of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says an attack by chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by any al-Qaida-related terror group also seems less likely in the coming year.

But officials say Yemeni offshoot al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is growing in size, gaining territory and followers despite targeting by Yemeni and U.S. counterterrorist forces.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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US officials: Core al-Qaida ‘essentially gone’