Report: Bin Laden orders followers to launch global attacks on '\'American and Jewish interests'\'
Besieged by U.S. and allied forces last December in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden commanded his fighters to disperse across the globe to attack "American and Jewish interests," according to accounts officials in Rabat say they have obtained from three al Qaeda operatives who were captured by Moroccan authorities.
The three men, citizens of Saudi Arabia, have told interrogators that they escaped Afghanistan and came to Morocco on a mission to use bomb-laden speedboats for suicide attacks on U.S. and British warships in the Strait of Gibraltar, senior Moroccan officials were quoted as saying by The Washington Post. The men were captured last month in a joint Moroccan-CIA operation.
The interrogations of the three men, who appeared briefly in court in Morocco on Friday, have created what officials describe as a fuller understanding of al Qaeda's strategy since its expulsion from Afghanistan.
According to the newspaper, officials said bin Laden's instructions were behind a string of recent attacks, including Friday's bombing at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. They said that information from prisoners and other evidence shows that al Qaeda leaders continue to direct missions from afar.
In one example, officials said that just before the April 11 bombing of a synagogue in Tunisia, which killed 14 German tourists and five Tunisians, a call was placed from Tunisia to a telephone believed to be used by a senior bin Laden aide, Khalid Mohammed. U.S. officials have identified Mohammed as a planner of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Moroccans said that, based on their findings and communication with other intelligence agencies, there is every indication that bin Laden is still alive.
One of the Saudis held in Morocco told interrogators that he knew bin Laden well and had eaten with him dozens of times over the years. He said that until Sept. 11, bin Laden increasingly adopted the mantle of a prophet, preferring to speak through senior aides rather than interact directly with his followers.
In late August, speaking to followers through an aide, bin Laden "was beginning to talk of a dream he had," a Moroccan official said. "He said he saw America in ashes. It was like announcing a prophecy." The Saudi told interrogators that on Aug. 31, bin Laden, again speaking through a senior aide, had placed al Qaeda on "general alert," The Washington Post added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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