BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Saturday, 13 July, 2002, 20:15 GMT 21:15 UK
Bin Laden 'alive' warns spy chief
Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden "still the figurehead" of his al-Qaeda network
Osama Bin Laden is alive and believed to be hiding in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the head of Germany's foreign intelligence agency has said.

Twin Towers on 11 September
Hanning claims Bin Laden is likely to carry out more attacks now the Taleban has been ousted

August Hanning told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that the wanted Saudi dissident was still very much a key figure within the al-Qaeda terror network.

"Given the information we have we are convinced that Bin Laden is still alive," he said.

"He is still the figurehead of al Qaeda, but doesn't appear to move around very much, and if at all, in a very conspiratorial way."

Bin Laden is alleged by the US to be behind the 11 September attacks in New York and Washington, which killed more than 3,000 people.

'New attacks'

Mr Hanning said that an estimated 5,000 al-Qaeda operatives still remained in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while others had returned to their countries of origin to plan new attacks.

Suspected 11 September hijacker Mohammed Atta
Suspected 11 September hijacker Mohammed Atta was based in Hamburg

"They are preparing new attacks from their new locations," he said.

"They will do all they can to strike again. We have to be prepared for that."

Mr Hanning warned that Bin Laden would be even more likely to carry out further attacks now that the Taleban regime that sheltered him for so long in Afghanistan had been ousted from power.

However the intelligence chief said although Bin Laden was aware of the 11 September attacks and approved them, he was most likely not involved in the more intricate aspects of the planning.

He added that the 11 September attacks had probably cost al-Qaeda the relatively small sum of $1m.

Germany's militant link

Germany has played a central part in the hunt for al-Qaeda members and their leader, keeping a close eye on extremist activity within its borders.

Three of the plane hijackers from the attacks on New York and Washington - including their alleged ringleader Mohammed Atta - lived in the German port city of Hamburg.

And in April nine suspected extremists were remanded into German custody, eight of whom are accused of plotting to carry out attacks on civilian targets in the country.


Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

10 Jul 02 | Middle East
01 Jul 02 | South Asia
24 Jun 02 | Middle East
28 May 02 | Europe
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes