The net is closing around terror leader Osama bin Laden, Pakistani intelligence officials said today.
They confirmed that the September 11 mastermind, who was captured a week ago, had met bin Laden in December.
Information from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed “is bringing us significantly closer to Osama,” said one intelligence official.
The press conference held at the InterServices Intelligence, or ISI, headquarters in Islamabad was the first-ever by the spy agency.
ISI offered a short video purportedly of the arrest in nearby Rawalpindi of Mohammed, the mastermind of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States.
Mohammed’s arrest on March 1 resulted in a treasure trove of intelligence, the ISI official who gave the briefing said.
From evidence garnered from Mohammed and from other suspected al-Qaida operatives “we find we appear to be just hours behind him (bin Laden).”
According to Mohammed, he met bin Laden in December, but he refused to say where. He also had letters in his possession that he said were written by bin Laden.
Also captured was Mustafa al-Hisawai, the financier of the September 11 attacks, and Pakistani Ahmed Abdul Qudus, whose family is closely affiliated to the hard-line religious organisation Jamaat-e-Islami, which is a partner in a coalition that rules in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.
Jamaat-e-Islami and al-Qaida were not linked, said intelligence agencies, but “there are individual associations.”