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A key al-Qaeda operative seized in Pakistan recently offered an alarming account of the group's potential plans to target the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, senior U.S. security officials tell TIME. Sharif al-Masri, an Egyptian who was captured in late August near Pakistan's border with Iran and Afghanistan, has told his interrogators of "al-Qaeda's interest in moving nuclear materials from Europe to either the U.S. or Mexico," according to a report circulating among U.S. government officials.
Masri also said al-Qaeda has considered plans to "smuggle nuclear materials to Mexico, then operatives would carry material into the U.S.," according to the report, parts of which were read to TIME.