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May 17th, 2011
01:45 PM ET

U.S. official: Bin Laden communicated with Yemen-based terror group

Washington (CNN) - Materials taken from Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan confirm that the al Qaeda leader communicated with the Yemen-based group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to a U.S. official familiar with the ongoing U.S. analysis of the documents.

It is not clear whether that group ever received the communications or if it acted upon them, said the official, who could not be named due to the sensitivity of the intelligence information.

The United States is still trying to determine if the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was in direct communication with bin Laden. Washington considers the Yemen-based group a very active wing of al Qaeda. Several attempted bombing plots targeting the United States - including the unsuccessful Times Square bombing of 2010 and the attempt to blow up courier planes with explosives hidden in printer cartridges - were hatched in Yemen.

The search through bin Laden's materials, which were recovered after the al Qaeda leader was killed in a May 2 raid on his compound by U.S. Navy SEALs, has also found direct evidence that while in hiding in Pakistan, bin Laden was involved in planning attacks. The materials confirmed that bin Laden was encouraging direct plots to attack Americans and U.S. interests in Europe late last year, according to the U.S. official.

The source emphasized there were several threats at the time that led the United States to issue an October 2010 alert for Americans traveling in Europe.

Bin Laden was "aware, supportive and trying to motivate his operatives in Europe. He was pushing them," the source said.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan
soundoff (One Response)
  1. John Davis

    Invasion: the forcible entry of a country or region with an armed force.

    Assassinate: murder (an important person) in a surprise attack for political or religious reasons.

    The US invaded Pakistan and assassinated someone purported to be Bin Laden.

    May 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm |