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Laden narrowly escaped US raid in Pak : Report

PTI [ MONDAY, APRIL 08, 2002  9:54:52 AM ]
SLAMABAD: Terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden managed to escape hours before a joint team of FBI and Pakistan commandos raided an al-Qaeda hideout in Faisalabad in Punjab province on March 28, which resulted in the capture of his lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, a media report said Monday.

Laden stayed for three days in Faisalabad and was able to slip out of the town barely a few hours before the FBI conducted a surprise raid, Pakistan daily The Nation reported Monday.

Zubaydah was critically injured when he and other al-Qaeda militants tried to resist the raiding parties.

American media teams that arrived late were tipped off that Laden had been present at the scene, the daily said. Even the local police and Pakistani authorities were kept completely in the dark about the true target of the raids.

Elaborate arrangements were made to conduct the surprise raid, the daily said adding the al-Qaeda hideout was tracked by sophisticated FBI technology which traced cellular phone transmissions through satellite.

Vigilance reports had suggested that the 'target' was staying in a rented house for three days before the raid.

Once the hideout was traced, FBI high-ups in Islamabad accompanied by crack airborne commandos and marine contingents secretly landed at the Faisalabad airport from Lahore in the night and proceeded towards the hideout, the daily said.

The inmates of rented house came to know of the raid only when the whole area was cordoned off and the commandos and Elite Force jawans jumped over the walls, it said adding that the operation was over after a brief fire fight.

Zubaydah received three bullets and was critically injured on chest, arm and leg. He and his companions were overpowered and taken into custody, the daily said.

Zubaydah's true identity came to known quite some time time after his arrest during interrogation of his companions.

The prime target, Osama Bin Laden, had however moved out only a few hours earlier as part of his strategy not to stay for a long time at any place.

Related links
 Pak helped Osama ally flee: Paper
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WINDOW ON PAKISTAN
Siddharth Vardarajan reports from Pakistan on the domestic and international events that shape the country.
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