- DUBAI (Reuters) - An Arab
newspaper on Saturday reported an alleged follower of Osama bin Laden as
saying the Saudi-born dissident had deployed 10 lookalikes in Afghanistan
to foil U.S. efforts at capturing the world's most wanted man.
The London-based al-Hayat daily quoted a man with the nom de guerre 'Abul
Noor' as also saying in an interview that bin Laden -- accused of masterminding
the September 11 attacks -- had repeatedly spoken about taking part in
World War Three.
- Abul Noor, whom the paper said belonged to bin Laden's
al Qaeda organization, was quoted as saying: "Even if the American
attacks against Afghanistan succeeded in finishing the Taliban movement,
they would not succeed in arresting bin Laden."
- "Not merely because that is difficult, but because
bin Laden has 10 lookalikes. Two of them are north Africans and they
all are in Afghanistan," he said, adding the only physical differences
between them were birthmarks on their backs.
- "Bin Laden has repeatedly spoken about a third world
war... he was saying 'We would enter a third World War in the coming
century'," Abul Noor commented in response to being told Washington
had evidence of al Qaeda's role in the September attacks.
He said bin Laden did not elaborate.
The newspaper said it had met Abul Noor, a north African Arab, in Madrid
after a series of complicated contacts. Abul Noor did not disclose his
real identity or nationality, but the paper said he belonged to al Qaeda's
It said he joined al Qaeda in 1998 and spent months in what he called
spiritual and religious training before learning to use light weapons.
He never met bin Laden in person.
The man showed scars on his body resulted from taking part in operations
in Algeria, south Lebanon, Somalia and several Middle Eastern capitals.
He said he had received training in the Middle East on how to make explosives
and carry out kidnappings.
He said without elaborating that it was dangerous for an al Qaeda member
to quit the organization, adding the group used an array of modern technologies.
- He said a foiled attempt to assassinate Egypt's President
Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia in 1995 was planned for three months in Somalia
and Afghanistan and that the people who planned it allocated $200,000
for the task.
- Abul Noor did not identify the planners or perpetrators.
The Egyptian government blamed the attempt on members of Egypt's militant
Gama'a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) organization and said the attackers
were trained in neighboring Sudan.