Al Qaeda in Drag

Al Qaeda's newest tactic to elude American forces appears to be dressing in drag.

A key al Qaeda operative who was dressed as a woman was killed in eastern Afghanistan, according to the U.S. military.

It was the third time in just three weeks that al Qaeda operatives wearing women's clothing have been captured or killed by coalition forces, Coalition spokesman Colonel Tom Collins told ABC News.

"We are seeing this tactic more frequently," he said.

In fact, Abu Musab al Zarqawi was also known to sometimes dress as a woman to evade capture.

An assault force swooped in on the village of Ya'Qubi, in Khost province near the Pakistan border early this morning, after receiving intelligence indicating "a known al Qaeda facilitator considered a significant threat" was there, according to the U.S. military.  Soldiers searching the compound came across the man hidden under a burqa. He resisted capture and was subsequently shot and killed.

Col. Collins would not identify the man but said most of the al Qaeda fighters they are catching in that area are local Pashtuns.

The compound raided this morning also housed bomb-making equipment and sheltered more than 60 women and children, the military said. It was not the first time al Qaeda fugitives have hidden their supplies among women and children. Col. Collins said it was a common al Qaeda tactic to surround its bomb-making operations with civilians.

Intelligence operatives in the region are on the lookout for Saudi al Qaeda member Abu Nasser al-Qhatani, who escaped from a high-security detention center at Bagram Air Base last July with three others, and who is believed to operate from South Waziristan. Abu Nasser has been the star of various recent al Qaeda video releases, in which he launches attacks on U.S. bases in Khost.

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