Tuesday, Jul 16, 2002
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``Given the information we have, we are convinced that bin Laden is still alive and is planning new attacks,'' August Hanning, President of Germany's foreign intelligence agency, BND, told Welam Sonntag newspaper.
``He is still the figurehead of Al-Qaeda, but doesn't appear to move around very much,'' Mr. Hanning said, according to a report in The Independent here today, quoting the German newspaper.
Mr. Hanning said an estimated 5,000 Al-Qaeda operatives remained in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while others had returned to their countries of origin to plan new attacks.
``They will do all they can to strike again. We have to be prepared for that,'' he said.
Mr. Hanning's remarks follow claims from Al-Qaeda last week that Osama and the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, were alive and well and planning new attacks.
Osama's spokesman, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, was quoted last week in the Algerian Arabic-language newspaper El Youm as saying the group would soon strike U.S. targets in America and abroad. AP
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