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Iraq Had Low-Level Contact with al-Qaida, says British Newspaper - 2003-04-27

A British newspaper alleges that it has uncovered documentation in Baghdad showing that Iraq made low-level contact with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network in 1998.

According to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper in London, documentation pulled from the bombed-out and looted Iraqi intelligence service headquarters in Baghdad says an al-Qaida envoy based in Sudan was invited to Iraq in March 1998 to arrange for closer ties.

The alleged evidence, which was not immediately verified independently, came into the hands of a Sunday Telegraph reporter, the newspaper claimed.

The Sunday Telegraph also said that in other correspondence, a note was found which sought to establish a meeting between Iraqi officials and Osama bin Laden himself. Again, the authenticity of that information has not been established.

The newspaper also said its reporter has seen nothing to show that such a meeting actually did take place.

In the months before the outbreak of the war in Iraq, the White House repeatedly insisted that links between Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq and Osama bin Laden's al Qaida did exist.