US Bombers Resume Attack on Al Qaeda at Tora Bora
An American B-52 warplane resumed bombing of positions held by alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda fighters around Melawa mountain in eastern Afghanistan at 12:50 pm (08h20 GMT) Saturday, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
After circling the zone for some time, the plane released a series of bombs which exploded on a ridge with a thunderous roar.
Shortly afterwards, an enormous cloud of smoke and dust began rising into the sky above the snow-capped mountains.
Earlier in the day, the al-Qaeda fighters exchanged mortar fire with forces of Afghan commanders in Nangarhar province, bordering Pakistan, who have been advancing steadily in the face of stubborn resistance from bin Laden's mainly Arab fighters.
The commanders are convinced that bin Laden, blamed for the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States, is hiding in the Tora Bora cave complex used by Afghan mujahedin against the Soviets during the 1979-89 war.
Commander Hazrat Ali told AFP Saturday his troops were closing in on the world's most wanted man and his fanatical supporters.
"We hope, God willing, that we will arrest him very soon. We think that today or the day after today we will martyr them," he said.
"Our mujahedin are willing to fight. Today or tomorrow we are going to launch a big attack and I think they will surrender to us." -- AFP
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