The former head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service said in remarks published on Sunday that Osama bin Laden was alive and preparing for a surprise comeback.
"I believe he is alive...and is waiting for the appropriate time. It will come as a surprise like he did before," Prince Turki al-Faisal told the Saudi-owned Ashraq al-Awsat newspaper in an interview.
According to the newspaper, the prince said his opinion about Osama bin Laden was based on "his own information".
Prince Turki was replaced by Prince Nawaf shortly before the September 11 attacks.
Prince Turki told the Arabic newspaper that the U.S.-led war against terror has dealt a "deadly blow" to al Qaeda. But he estimated that al Qaeda members still at large number about 5,000 people.
Meanwhile, The Observer also reported Sunday that Bin Laden is alive and regularly meeting Mullah Omar, according to a telephone call intercepted by American spy satellites.
In the conversation, recorded less than a month ago, Omar and a senior aide were discussing the American-led hunt to track them down. The two men, using a mobile Thuraya satellite phone, spoke about tactics for several minutes. Omar then turned to a third person who was within a few yards of him, voice analysis has revealed. After exchanging a few words, Omar said that 'the sheikh sends his salaams [greetings]'. Senior Taliban figures habitually refer to bin Laden as 'the sheikh'.
Voice analysis appears to corroborate the identification of bin Laden. 'It shows he was alive recently at least,' said a senior Afghan intelligence officer. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)