bin Laden's #2 Man Believed Cornered in Pakistan

MARCH 18, 2004 - Posted at 3:48 p.m. CDT

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - Pakistan's president has spoken of a pitched battle in an area near the Afghan border where al-Quida's number two man is believed to be cornered.

Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahri is Osama bin Laden's top deputy.  President Pervez Musharraf tells CNN there's "fierce resistance" from a group of fighters entrenched in fort-like buildings.  Musharaff says there are indications that a senior figure is surrounded.

Senior Pakistani officials tell the Associated Press it's al-Zawahri.  The U.S. has a $25 million reward for his capture.

One intelligence official says some captured fighters al-Zawahri was hurt in the fighting.

Musharaff says military is using helicopter gunships and pounding "pounded" the area with artillery.

The United States has a $25 million reward for al-Zawahri.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)