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JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 27 -- Two figures who have assumed critical roles in the al Qaeda hierarchy in recent months, including one reported dead by the Pentagon, are being sheltered in Iran along with dozens of other al Qaeda fighters in hotels and guesthouses in the border cities of Mashhad and Zabol, according to Arab intelligence sources.
The two -- Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian on the FBI's most-wanted list, and Mahfouz Ould Walid, also known as Abu Hafs the Mauritanian, whom U.S. officials reported had been killed near the eastern Afghan city of Khost in January -- are directly involved in planning al Qaeda terrorist operations, according to the intelligence sources, who are outside Saudi Arabia and did not want their names or countries disclosed.