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World in brief

U.S.: Bin Laden has no way to direct al-Qaida

By wire services
Published November 19, 2004

WASHINGTON - Pakistan's military has been so effective in pressuring al-Qaida leaders hiding in the tribal region of western Pakistan that Osama bin Laden and his top deputies no longer are able to direct terrorist operations, a senior U.S. commander said Thursday.

"They are living in the remotest areas of the world without any communications - other than courier - with the outside world or their people and unable to orchestrate or provide command and control over a terrorist network," said Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy commander of Central Command.

"They are basically on the run and unable to really conduct operations except, in the very long term, provide vision and guidance as Osama bin Laden does when he provides one of those tapes," he added, alluding to a bin Laden video released three weeks ago.

REWARD FOR TERRORIST: Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday posted a $5-million reward for information leading to the capture of Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, an al-Qaida operative who ran a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. Also known as Abu Musab al-Suri, he trained terrorists in poisons and chemicals, the State Department said. Nasar is a Syrian with dual Spanish nationality.

Elsewhere...

ISRAEL APOLOGIZES: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon apologized to Egypt on Thursday after an Israeli army tank crew fired on an Egyptian patrol near the border with Gaza, killing three Egyptian police officers. In the dark, the Israeli tank crew mistook the Egyptian patrol for a group of Palestinian militants trying to plant explosives close to the Israeli-controlled corridor that separates the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Israeli army said.

AFGHAN DRUGS: Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, the source of most of the opium and heroin on Europe's streets, was up sharply this year, reaching the highest levels in the country's history and in the world, the United Nations announced Thursday.

[Last modified November 18, 2004, 23:59:17]


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