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Courier who led US to Osama's hideout identified

May 03, 2011 17:59 IST
The unsuspecting courier, who led the United States special forces to the Abbottabad mansion of the elusive Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, has been identified as a Kuwaiti named Abu Ahmad, a media report here has said. "The courier who was in close contact with Osama bin Laden and who eventually led the United States to him was a Kuwaiti named Abu Ahmad," CNN quoted an unnamed diplomatic source as saying.

American officials said that when the identity of the courier was established in 2007 the US began a path to the house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where the Al Qaeda leader was staying.

Analysis of assessments of detainees held at the US Navy's detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, include several mentions of a man by the name of Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, who was reportedly close to the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- also a Kuwaiti.

Since the top-secret operation that killed bin Laden, US officials have described the courier they were tracking as a protege of Mohammed and another senior member of the Al Qaeda, Abu Faraj al-Libi, a Libyan detainee who was named as Al Qaeda's third most senior leader when he was captured in May 2005.

The New York Times reported on Monday that the Central Intelligence Agency analysts spent several weeks in August and September, 2010, going through satellite images and intelligence reports to determine who could be living at the Abbottabad compound. "By September the CIA had determined there was a strong possibility that bin Laden himself was hiding there," it quoted a senior Obama administration official as saying.

Meanwhile, the Times on Tuesday said that an important lead in the agonising search for bin Laden came last July when Pakistanis working for the CIA drove up behind a white Suzuki navigating the bustling streets near Peshawar and wrote down the car's licence plate.

The man in the car was bin Laden's most trusted courier, and over the next month CIA operatives tracked him throughout central Pakistan. Ultimately, administration officials said, he led them to a sprawling compound at the end of a long dirt road and surrounded by tall security fences in a wealthy hamlet, near the Pakistani capital.

CNN also reported that bin Laden was shot in the head and chest during the 40-minute military operation.

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