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Monday, 15 July, 2002, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Bin Laden 'in good health'
Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden "still the figurehead" of his al-Qaeda network
An influential Arabic newspaper editor has been told that Osama Bin Laden is still alive - the second such report in a week.


[Osama Bin Laden's] people said he was wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel

Abdel-Bari Atwan
Abdel-Bari Atwan says the leader of the al-Qaeda network is in good health, but had been wounded in an attack on his base in Afghanistan last December.

Mr Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds newspaper, said Bin Laden's followers had told him that he would not make more video statements until his group launches another attack on the United States.

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

Shrapnel

Mr Atwan is one of few journalists to have interviewed Osama Bin Laden before the US attacks.

He said he had started his hunt for news of Bin Laden's whereabouts after the latest video footage showing the al-Qaeda leader - who is left-handed - barely moving his left arm.

Twin Towers on 11 September
Bin Laden's group has threatened more attacks
"His [Osama Bin Laden's] people said he was wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel. He is in good health now," Mr Atwan said on Monday.

He said the injury was sustained during a US-led assault on his headquarters in the Tora Bora mountains in eastern Afghanistan in December.

"They [Bin Laden's followers] also said Bin Laden would not appear in a video and just speak words. He will make another appearance only after his people attack the Americans again," Mr Atwan said.

US officials have made several warnings about a possible attack against American targets, by members of al-Qaeda.

US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told American troops in Afghanistan on Monday that the organisation remained active despite the successes of the US-led campaign.

"We have taken out maybe half of the top al-Qaeda and almost half of the Taleban leadership," Mr Wolfowitz said.

"It's going to be a long struggle," he added.

German evidence

Last week, the head of Germany's foreign intelligence agency also said Osama Bin Laden was alive and believed to be hiding in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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."

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.

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

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Editor of Al-Quds al Arabi, Abdel-Bari Atwan,
"I'm pretty sure Osama Bin Laden was injured"

Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

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