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Britain Reveals Details About bin Laden - 2001-10-04


British Prime Minister Tony Blair has revealed new details about the alleged involvement of suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, in last month's attacks in the United States. Mr. Blair addressed an emergency meeting of Parliament.

Mr. Blair told Parliament that three of the 19 suicide hijackers blamed for the September 11 attacks have been identified as associates of Osama bin Laden.

He says of those three, one also played a "key role" in 1998 attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa, and last year's attack on a U.S. warship in Yemen.

Mr. Blair said there is clear linkage of Osama bin Laden, and his al-Qaida organization, to the September 11 suicide plane attacks in America. "Shortly before the 11 of September, bin Laden told associates that he had a major operation against America in preparation," he said. "A range of people were warned to return to Afghanistan because of action on or around September 11. And most importantly, one of bin Laden's closest lieutenants has said clearly that he helped with the planning of the 11 of September attacks, and admitted involvement of the al-Qaida organization."

Mr. Blair said there is even more of what he called "highly sensitive" intelligence material that he cannot make public for security reasons.

The Conservative opposition leader, Iain Duncan Smith, told Parliament he has been briefed on the government's intelligence, and the evidence is convincing. "The prime minister has perhaps shared with me more than he can present here today," he said. "And on that basis, I am convinced that Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida and the Taleban are guilty as charged."

Osama bin Laden has denied any connection with the U.S. attacks, while the Taleban rulers of Afghanistan have refused to hand him over to the United States for prosecution.

Mr. Blair appeared in Parliament before traveling to Moscow for a new round of shuttle diplomacy on behalf of the global coalition against terrorism.

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