Report: Bin Laden is Hiding in Secret Camp
Osama bin Laden has left his main camp in Afghanistan because of the threat of a US missile strike and moved to a secret base in the Hindu Kush mountains, said the Guardian in a report published by the Chicago Suntimes in its internet edition on Wednesday.
Quoting an Afghan source, the report said that Bin Laden has left his camp at the disused air base near Kandahar on Oct. 22. His convoy of 15 or 16 trucks was seen heading west toward the central mountain area of Oruzgan.
Bin Laden is suspected by the United States of being involved in the Oct. 12 attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen. Seventeen American sailors were killed when a boat packed with explosives rammed into the hull of the destroyer as it refueled in Aden harbor.
Bin Laden's decision to flee his base followed top-level meetings of the Taliban in Kandahar, home of the movement's spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar.
"Bin Laden has left Kandahar," one source told the Guardian Monday night. "He was in a convoy of brand-new Land Cruisers. The convoy was not carrying Afghans but heavily armed Arabs. They were moving west at some speed, heading towards the mountains. Though no one can say for sure, he is almost certainly now in Oruzgan province."
Two years ago the United States fired 75 cruise missiles at his training camps at Khost and Jalalabad after holding him responsible for the US embassy bombings in east Africa, which killed more than 200 people. He was reported to have left the Khost camp an hour before the strike, according to the report.
The hard-line Islamic Taliban regime has repeatedly refused to hand him over, despite United Nations sanctions imposed a year ago and a $5 million reward offered by the United States for information leading to his capture.
Bin Laden told supporters last month that he was satisfied by the attack USS Cole, the Arabic daily al-Hayat reported on November 4.
Quoting "Arab sources close to Bin Laden," the daily said he "had thanked God for the attack."
On the same day, AFP reported that a leader of radical Pakistani Islamic party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) had warned that Americans in the region were at risk if Osama bin Laden was harmed by the United States.
"We have decided to launch jihad (holy war) against Americans if anything happens to Osama bin Laden as a result of any US attack," said JUI's Mufti Jamil.
"No Americans, including the US ambassador, will be safe in Pakistan," Jamil told AFP – (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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