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Terror leader Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida “consorts” are in Iran, a respected Islamic leader told WorldNetDaily.

According to the source, who requested anonymity, a group of Arabs who
recently spent time in the desert area shared by Afghanistan, Pakistan and
Iran, are claiming the most wanted man in the world is “definitely in
Iran.”

WND has reason to believe the information is credible due to the caliber of the sources.

The report comes just as the U.S. government raised the national threat warning from yellow, the midpoint on its five-color scale, to orange due to indicators of potential terror attacks on the American homeland during the holiday season.

Focus on the whereabouts of bin Laden has increased in the wake of ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s capture on Dec. 13.

On Friday, excerpts of a 10-minute tape purportedly to be made by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s deputy, were broadcast by satellite television channel Al-Jazeera.

As WND and Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin reported in August, intelligence sources agree Iran’s claim that al-Qaida fugitives “escaped” from Tehran to an unknown destination is false, believing Zawahiri is still in Iran.

The sources claim he is in Iranian territory in the border area with Pakistan, where he reportedly is being assisted by the Pakistani Secret Service ISI, which previously had assisted many ex-Taliban and al-Qaida fugitives to find safe harbor.

The most recent report also dovetails with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s announcement last summer that he had sent his own army into the northern tribal areas near the border with Iran to ferret out bin Laden.

In November, Fox News Channel foreign affairs and terrorism analyst Mansoor Ijaz, citing an “unimpeachable source,” also said bin Laden had moved from the Afghan-Pakistani border into Iran.

“That was an extraordinary admission at the time, one that I could not understand how he could make if bin Laden, in fact, was still in that area,” Ijaz told Fox News host Brit Hume.

Both al-Qaida leaders are disguised, Ijaz said. Bin Laden, has shaved his head bald and is wearing a shorter beard that is dyed to make him look more like an Iranian cleric. He also has put on a considerable amount of weight. Al-Zawahiri has done something similar, Ijaz said, and is now wearing a black turban and dyed beard instead of the traditional white turban he wore as an Egyptian cleric.

Bin Laden is being kept out of the public, while al-Zawahiri is said to be moving around quite freely, Ijaz said.

The analyst said the Revolutionary Guard of Iran has arranged for at least three to four body doubles that are making their way around different parts of Afghanistan to fool bin Laden’s pursuers.

“But I can tell you with unimpeachability tonight that he is on the western border of Iran, inside Iran, planning terrorist attacks against the United States’ interests in that part of the world,” Ijaz said.

Democratic presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark criticized President Bush on Sunday for being “afraid” to go after bin Laden after the September 11 attacks, instead pursuing Hussein.

“[Bush] did a bait-and-switch on us and substituted Saddam Hussein, and boom, $150 billion, 460 American lives and no telling how much more of our Treasury before this is all over,” Clark told ABC’s “This Week.”

“This administration didn’t have the heart to put the effort and the innovation and the ingenuity into fighting terror,” Clark said, saying he “wouldn’t have been afraid to try” to kill bin Laden, had he been president in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.

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