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Abbottabad: home to one who had earlier given Osama safe house

Washington, May 2 (PTI)

Abbottabad city in Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was shot dead by US special forces today, was once home to Libyan national Abu al-Libi, the operational chief of al-Qaeda who had long-term associations with the most wanted terrorist and provided safe havens to him.

Libi was a Guantanamo Bay detainee, who in July 2003 received a letter from bin Laden's designated courier, Maulawi Abd al-Khaliq Jan, requesting him to take on the responsibility of collecting donations, organising travel, and distributing funds to families (of al Qaeda members) in Pakistan.

The details are part of Libi's secret interrogation reports brought out by Internet whistleblower WikiLeaks.

"Detainee (Libi) was the operational chief of al-Qaeda and had long-term associations with Osama bin Laden (OBL) and Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri...," the executive summary of Libi signed by an American Rear Admiral said.


It added, "Detainee planned and executed operations against the US and other nations, including an alleged 2003 assassination attempt against President Musharraf of Pakistan.
"Detainee provided safe havens for OBL and senior al-Qaeda leader Dr Ayman al Zawahiri in 2001 and 2003."

Talking about his Abbottabad city connections, the report says, "OBL stated detainee would be the official messenger between OBL and others in Pakistan.

"In mid-2003, detainee moved his family to Abbottabad, PK and worked between Abbottabad and Peshawar."However, the report said in mid 2004, Libi moved his family from Abbottabad to Bajaur in Pakistan.

He was assessed to be of "high intelligence value" and was arrested by Pakistani special forces on May 2, 2005, while he was waiting to meet with another operative in Mardan.
US media report today had said a trusted courier of bin Laden's, whom American spies had been hunting for years, finally led them to the al-Qaeda chief.

New York Times reported that detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier's pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protege of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the September 11 attacks.
American intelligence officials said that they finally learned the courier's real name four years ago, but that it took another two years for them to learn the location where he operated.

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