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American in Pakistani custody isn't al-Qaida spokesman

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani officials reversed course yesterday on a recently captured American suspected of being a member of al-Qaida, saying the man is not the terror network's U.S.-born spokesman, as they initially believed.

The man arrested in the southern city of Karachi was first identified as al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn, the most wanted American in the terrorist network. But authorities later said it was a case of mistaken identity and that they have a different American in custody.

Pakistani intelligence officials instead identified him as Abu Yahya Majadin Adam, a name similar to one listed on the FBI's Web site as an alias for Gadahn, 31, who has appeared in several al-Qaida videos threatening the West since 2001.

"The resemblance of the name initially caused confusion, but now they have concluded he is not Gadahn," said an intelligence officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Word of the man's identity came on the same day that a suicide car bomber struck a police interrogation building in the eastern city of Lahore, killing 13 people. The attack broke what had been a relative lull in violence in Pakistan, where militant groups revile the government for its alliance with the United States.

A senior U.S military intelligence official confirmed yesterday that the man arrested does not appear to be Gadahn. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of Pakistani operations. - AP

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