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Alqaeda Hezbollah { February 1 2002 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active),,2002040005-2002053546,00.html,,2002040005-2002053546,00.html

Al-Qaeda in talks with Lebanon group
THE al-Qaeda terrorist organisation is trying to transfer its base of
operations from Afghanistan to Lebanon, according to intelligence
uncovered earlier this month.

A senior operative of Osama bin Laden’s network, a Yemeni
national who has the alias of Salah Hajir, is believed to have
arrived in Lebanon about two weeks ago and has held meetings in
Beirut with leaders of the Hezbollah terrorist group.

Hezbollah is known to be funded and sponsored by the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard. The Iranian Government is in the spotlight
after President Bush’s State of the Union address on future threats
to the United States which highlighted an “evil axis” of Iran, Iraq
and North Korea.

On Wednesday Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary,
said: “We know Iran is actively sending terrorists down through
Damascus into the Bekaa Valley where they train terrorists, then
engage in acts against countries in the region and elsewhere.”

Although British diplomatic sources said that Hezbollah, a Shia
Muslim organisation, and al-Qaeda, which is Sunni Muslim, were
“unlikely bedfellows”, there is substantial evidence of a working
alliance between the two groups dating back to the early 1990s.

Bin Laden is believed to have met a senior member of Hezbollah
at that time. Reports also indicated that Hezbollah provided
al-Qaeda with explosives and training.

Intelligence of the arrival of the senior bin Laden associate in
Lebanon and the meetings with Hezbollah leaders may provide the
first indication that al-Qaeda is seeking an accommodation with
the Iranian-backed terror group.

There have also been reports that since arriving in Lebanon —
which is home to 30,000 Syrian troops and under the effective
control of President Assad of Syria — Salah Hajir has met a
radical Sunni Islamic organisation called Usbat al-Ansar which has
close ties with al-Qaeda and is based in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee
camp in Sidon.

A number of Usbat al-Ansar operatives are believed to have
returned to Lebanon a month ago after fighting alongside al-Qaeda
members in Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Taleban and the destruction of much of the
al-Qaeda infrastructure, including all their training camps, there has
been speculation that bin Laden’s organisation might try to transfer
its headquarters to another country.

Somalia was top of the list, and a close watch has been kept on all
shipping out of Pakistan to prevent al-Qaeda members escaping
by sea in vessels bound for Somalia and other potential harbouring

Since September 11 the CIA and FBI have been investigating
links between al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, including
Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group, Harkat-ul-Mujahidin based in
Pakistan, and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines.

The last time Hezbollah attacked Americans was in 1983 when
241 US servicemen were killed in a suicide bombing in Beirut.

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Weapons boat

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