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New urgency binladen hunt { March 11 2003 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2840615.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2840615.stm

Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 17:38 GMT
'New urgency' in Bin Laden hunt

By Frank Gardner
BBC security correspondent

Western intelligence sources have told the BBC that a major intelligence-led operation is under way in both Afghanistan and Pakistan to find Osama Bin Laden and other senior al-Qaeda leaders.

US forces in Afghanistan as well as officials in Pakistan have announced that they have detained a number of men with suspected links to al-Qaeda recently, but Bin Laden remains at large.

In the hushed corridors of Washington's counter-terrorism centre and in certain soundproofed offices in London there is a new sense of urgency.

Intelligence analysts believe the West may now be closer to catching Bin Laden than at any time in the last 16 months.

Million-dollar bounty

Acting on information obtained from interrogations and from material seized in Pakistan, US intelligence is directing a major manhunt in the region.

The search involves US and Pakistani agents, local informers and a number of US special operations troops.

It is also straddling the Afghan-Pakistani border, with operations focusing on Balochistan and the wild mountainous region further north.

But will they ever catch Bin Laden alive?

The odds are still against this happening.

A man with an $27m bounty on his head tends to choose his friends carefully.

Martyr to his cause

The elusive al-Qaeda leader may well be running out of hiding places but those who know him and who have met him say he will never give himself up.

In fact, his living nightmare is to be paraded as a prisoner of the West.

It would take an operation of exceptional stealth to catch him unawares.

It is far more likely that Bin Laden would fulfil his dream and die a martyr to his cause.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/2840615.stm

Published: 2003/03/11 17:38:22

BBC MMIII



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