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Weaker al-Qaida still plots payback for US raid

WASHINGTON — A year after the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida is hobbled and hunted. Officials say it's too busy surviving to carry out another Sept. 11-style attack on U.S. soil.

But the terrorist network dreams of payback, and U.S. counterterrorist officials warn that, in time, its offshoots may deliver.

A decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has forced al-Qaida's affiliates to regroup, from Yemen to Iraq. And bin Laden's No. 2 man is thought to be hiding in Pakistan's mountains.

Seth Jones, an analyst and adviser to U.S. special operations forces, calls it "wishful thinking" to say al-Qaida is on the brink of defeat.

Officials say new al-Qaida branches are hitting Western targets and U.S. allies overseas, and still aspire to match their parent organization's 9/11 milestone.