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Friday, August 11, 2006


Tehran, 11 August (AKI) - One of Osama bin Laden's sons, Saad, together with a number of top al-Qaeda commanders, including Seif al Adel, are hiding in Iran and are not in Syria as reported by several Western papers this week, a well informed source told Adnkronos International (AKI). The source, a top Iranian intelligence official until a few months ago, said al-Qaeda and members of Iran's powerful revolutionary guard, the Pasdaran, are negotiating coordinated actions against the United States and Israel.

The al-Qaeda members had been living for the past four years in a neighbourhood in northern Tehran under the surveillance of Iran's revolutionary guards corps, the Pasdaran, but were recently moved to a military base 80 km south-west of the capital, along the road to the holy city of Qum.

The source said that Saad bin-Laden doesn't need take unnecessary risks and move to Syria to organize militantss to send to Lebanon to fight against the Israelis alongside the Shiite Hezbollah militias.

According to the same source, the death of the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi , who was killed in a US air raid on 7 June and was known for his hatred of Shiite Muslims, paved the way for talks on a "tacticak cooperation" between the Pasdaran and a significant part of the predominantly Sunni al-Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri.

"The decision to transfer of Saad bin Laden and of other leading members of al-Qaeda to this military base managed by the al Quds battallion of the Pasdaran was taken to make it easier for members of the militant group and the army to meet," the source told AKI.

The latest statement by Ayman al-Zawahiri aired on 27 July by al-Jazeera was considered by many analysts an unprecedented step by al-Qaeda's number two, towards Shiite movements. In the message, Zawahiri praised Hezbollah and called on Sunni Muslims to fight with the soldiers of the group's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

However, the source told AKI that the message was a consequence of dialogue started after the death of al-Zaerqawi.

"The statements made by [Iranian president] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Israel and Jews and the threats of Pasdaran top officials agains the Americans and British, the campaign of Iranian papers against the presence of foreign troops in Iraq facilitated negotiations with al Qaeda's men."

The same source expressed the belief that ideological and theological divergences between the Iranians and al Qaeda remain but the needs dictated by current events prevailed and forced the radical Shiites to seek an accord with the terror group.

"Grassroots members of both groups will probably not welcome an accord though an agreement is key for both if they mean to strike the common enemy with terror actions."

"The Islamic Republic has the advantages and the limits of a state sitting in international organizations but needs an organization able to do the dirty work while al Qaeda needs the cover of a government, though it has overhauled its organization."

The Iranian source however denied reports alleging that Iran, which is believed to arm Hezbollah with Syria, needs al Qaeda to support Hezbollah's fight against Israel.

"Providing Nasrallah with the support of al Qaeda would destroy the myth of Hezbollah's invincibility," the source said. "Iran will use Palestinian militants if the Shiite guerrilla needs help, further strengthening ties with Hamas, an alliance which has added value on a political level."

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