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Sunday 25 September 2016

Bin Laden wanted terror groups to focus on US

Mark Hosenball in Washington

Published 21/05/2015 | 02:30

Osama bin Laden was fixated on attacking US targets and pressured al-Qa'ida groups to heal local rivalries and focus on that cause, according to documents the United States says were seized in bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan and released yesterday.

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A July 2010 letter, which was among the materials released by US intelligence, showed that bin Laden pressed al-Qa'ida in Yemen, one of the group's more active affiliates, to make peace with the government and focus on America.

Bin Laden's view was that al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) ought to sign a truce with Yemeni authorities or arrange an accommodation in which Yemeni authorities would leave the group alone "in exchange for focusing on America".

"The purpose is to focus on striking inside America and its interest abroad, especially oil producing countries, to agitate public opinion and to force US to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq," according to a summary of the letter by a bin Laden associate identified as "Atiyyah".

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden

It says the associate recommended "extra security measures" for Anwar al Awlaki, a US-born preacher who became one of AQAP's principal strategists and spokesman, and also that Awlaki should be required to "change his way of life".

Awlaki had served as an imam at a mosque in a Virginia suburb of Washington, which was attended by two militants who participated in the September 11, 2001 attacks. He fled to Yemen after the attacks and was killed in 2011 by a CIA drone strike.

The documents released were part of a cache seized by US commandos during the 2012 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, when bin Laden was killed. Among the materials were Bin Laden's various correspondences, a list of English-language books and material published by other militant groups.

Irish Independent

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