Is Osama Bin Laden dead or alive?
It depends on whom you ask.
U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials suspect the al-Qaida leader died during the military campaign in Afghanistan in December, according to World Tribune.com.
But an Israeli tourist claims to have seen bin Laden in Bali ten days before the bombings on the Indonesian resort island, reports Pravda online.
A woman phoned the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to say she’d spotted bin Laden at the airport in Bali. She claimed he was wearing European clothes and had trimmed his beard. She said he was walking with two bodyguards and carrying
a container attached to his wrist by a chain. The woman also claimed an airport attendant handed bin Laden a suitcase
and then whisked all three men through customs.
Her account coincided with the release of an audiotape in which bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman Zawahiri,
claims the al-Qaida leader is alive and functioning. Sources say the tape and other new messages are most likely fabrications and that al-Qaida has already chosen an heir, reports Middle East Newsline.
According to World Tribune, members of al-Qaida have decided to go on the offensive with or without bin Laden. The U.S. and Israel are the top targets.
“In this case, it doesn’t matter whether Bin Laden is alive or not,” a senior Israeli intelligence source
said. “The organization goes on with help from key people.”
U.S. intelligence officials say al-Qaida terrorists have launched a new campaign of economic warfare and are targeting shipping in the Middle East.
WorldNetDaily reported last week that Navy and military intelligence analysts have already concluded based on flyovers and other information that the attack on the
French-registered oil tanker Limburg was part of a tactic by terrorists to bring more U.S. ships into the region so they, too, could be attacked by small boats
loaded with explosives.
The explosion on the Limburg followed a U.S. Navy warning last month that al-Qaida was planning ambushes
on oil tankers in the Gulf region.
“According to unconfirmed reports circulating within the regional shipping community, the al-Qaida terrorist
group has planned attacks against oil tankers transiting the Arabian Gulf and Horn of Africa areas,” said a
little-noticed bulletin issued by the U.S. Navy’s Marine Liaison Office in Bahrain early last month.
Another major attack by al-Qaida anywhere in the world could have devastating economic repercussions, according to a Bush administration official.
The bombing of a French tanker in Yemen, bombings in Bali aimed at tourists, and an attack on U.S. soldiers training in Kuwait are all signs the new campaign is already under way, reports Geostrategy, the global intelligence news agency.
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