Defence secretary to discuss British implications

BRITISH defence secretary Liam Fox will visit the US to discuss the implications for Britain of the intelligence seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound when the terror chief was killed last week.

Dr Fox revealed he will hold talks at the Pentagon and US Central Command in Florida in a fortnight.

He said the discovery of the vast haul of material — including computer disks, hard drives and hand-written notes — by US Navy SEALs showed the al-Qaida terror network was “still alive and well”.

Britain must be “vigilant” to the danger of terror attacks in the coming period as surviving affiliates of al-Qaida in countries like Yemen continue to pose a threat to the free world, he said.

Dr Fox said: “Clearly what it says is al-Qaida is still alive and well and still poses a threat not only to the UK but to all free countries in the world.

“We do need to maintain our guard and we have to watch countries like the Yemen, which is slowly declining and possibly falling into a failed state, which, of course, would give a boost to al-Qaida.

“We have to keep up our guard in a lot of places and it is not an option for us.

“It is not as if we are saying ‘Let’s look for trouble’. Trouble is out there. We either have to deal with it at the point of origin or it is very likely to come and deal with us.”

Dr Fox said the hunt for al-Qaida leaders like bin Laden was “still often US-led’, while Britain’s contribution was largely related to denying terrorists a base from which to operate in Afghanistan.

“We will have to be very vigilant, including in Afghanistan, to ensure that the threat doesn’t come back and Afghanistan is once again used as a space by those terrorists to launch the sort of attacks we saw on 9/11,” he said.

US officials said material seized in Abbottabad showed bin Laden was still actively involved in planning and directing al-Qaida’s terror plots at the time he was killed.

It is believed to be the largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever collected.

It confirms that the compound was a command and control centre for al-Qaida, with bin Laden staying in contact with affiliates around the world through a network of couriers

The US released a number of videos seized in the raid which show bin Laden at the secret compound where he was shot dead

The five short clips show a hunched, unkempt bin Laden wrapped in a blanket watching newscasts of himself on a small television, and preparing a video message addressed to the US.


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