M A I N   N E W S

Osama: captured or not?
Iran radio says news confirmed

Tehran, February 28
Iran’s state radio, quoting an unnamed source, today said that Osama bin Laden had been captured in Pakistan “a long time ago.”

The report said US Defence Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s visit to the region this week was in connection with the arrest.

The state radio said a reporter for its Pushtun service in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar “confirmed the news” that Bin Laden had been captured in a tribal region in Pakistan. He said the news was from “a very reliable source in Peshawar, Pakistan,” but the source was not identified.

Iranian state radio quoted its reporter as saying the arrest happened a long time ago.

“Osama bin Laden has been arrested a long time ago, but US President George W. Bush is intending to use it for propaganda manoeuvering in the presidential election,” he said.

Homayoun Jarir, son-in-law of Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, said he could not confirm the report.

Shamim Shahed, the bureau chief for “The Nation,” an English-language newspaper in Peshawar, was cited by the director of IRNA’s Pashtun radio service as the source of the Bin Laden report.

But Shahed denied in an interview ever telling the Iranian news service that Bin Laden had been captured.

“I never said this, but I have for the last year been saying he is not far away. He is within their (the Americans’) reach, and they can declare him arrested anytime,” Shahed said. He gave no evidence to back that claim. — AP


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