Report: Bin Laden and Omar Alive; Official: Bin Laden Cannot Enter Chechnya

Published February 20th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

The world’s most wanted fugitive, Osama bin Laden, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and their senior deputies are still alive, according to a statement released by an organization known for its reliable information on the al-Qaeda network. 

 

The Center for Studies and Historical Research recently issued a statement saying Osama bin Laden and Omar had exprssed their condolences to the family of the late Hamza Badni, an Afghan cleric. 

 

The undated statement was distributed on the Internet a few days ago, excerpts of which were published in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat on Tuesday. 

 

Part of the statement said, "Mullah Mohammad Omar, his deputy Mohammed Hassan and the other [Taliban] leaders, plus Sheikh Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri, pay their condolences to the relatives of the Sheikh [Badni] and the Pakistani and Afghan people who have lost such rare men in this time." 

 

The statement, which was apparently referring to the deaths of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters during the US-led bombing war inside Afghanistan that began October 7, claimed Badni died as result of an unspecified illness at the beginning of the month. 

 

Hani el-Sibaie, a former leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad now living in London, said the statement "confirms that those leaders are still alive." 

 

"Until now, all the statements [from the center] have been correct and very accurate," said el-Sibaie in a telephone interview, reported AP

 

El-Sibaie, who has been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for his involvement in terrorist attacks inside Egypt during the 1990s, said the Center has close ties to the Taliban and al-Qaeda organization. 

 

The center started issuing statements shortly after the United States launched attacks against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets. 

 

Despite extensive US-led bombing campaigns in Afghanistan, immense searches and international cooperation, Osama bin Laden and Omar’s whereabouts remain a mystery. 

 

Chechnya 

 

On Wednesday, Akhmad Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen administration, told reporters that he rules out the possibility that Osama bin Laden or some members of the al Qaeda network could enter the Republic, according to Interfax.  

 

Kadyrov explains that he believes that conditions no longer exist in Chechnya that would permit such terrorists to enter the Republic. 

 

Earlier this month, a Christian Science Monitor report said that Osama bin Laden’s self-described Saudi cook believed that his boss planned to go through Iran and then eventually end up in Azerbaijan or possibly Chechnya. (Albawaba.com) 


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