Asharq al-Awsat, London- An extremist Islamist internet site has claimed Osama bin Laden was recently injured in fighting around a Spanish military base in Afghanistan. Al Hasba, which has featured statements by al Qaeda’s leader and Abu Musab al Zarqawi, said bin Laden took part in the al Kholoud attack (the eternal attack) and was lightly injured in his left thigh.
Islamists in London cast doubt on these reports and indicated that Saudi-born bin Laden has not appeared in any video or audio tape since 27th December 2004, when al Jazeera news channel broadcasted a tape allegedly announcing the appointment of Zarqawi as “the emir of al Qaeda in Iraq”.
On his part, the Egyptian Islamist Dr. Hani al Sibai, the director of the al Maqrizi centre in London, questioned the news of an injury to bin Laden or his involvement in combat as this would have made him vulnerable to being caught. He said, “His followers would never accept this.”
Given the secrecy surrounding the whereabouts of bin Laden, taking part in military operation and overseeing a group of fighters would be very risky especially as prisoners might reveal the location of their leader.
Al Sibai indicated the head of al Qaeda, bin Laden and Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri were unlikely to reside in the same lcoation due to the hightened security measures adopted by the group to ensure its leaders remain alive.