‘Bush in final bid to capture bin Laden, hiding in Pakistan’

June 15th, 2008 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown

London, June 15 (IANS) George W. Bush has sanctioned a final attempt to capture Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden before he leaves office, a newspaper said as the American president arrived on his last official visit to Britain Sunday. Bush, who will meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown privately, has launched a renewed hunt for bin Laden along with British and Pakistani forces, the Sunday Times said quoting sources in Washington and London.

“If he can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured bin Laden he can claim to have left the world a safer place,” the paper quoted an unnamed US intelligence source as saying.

Troops from the British Special Boat Service (SBS) and Special Reconnaissance Regiment have been taking part in the US-led attack that has been “completely sanctioned” by the Pakistani government, it quoted a British special forces source as saying.

The attack involves the use of Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles filled with Hellfire missiles that can be used to take out specific terrorist targets.

It included a strike on a suspected Al Qaeda safe house in North Waziristan in Pakistan in early June but the house was said to be empty.

The paper said bin Laden, who is blamed for masterminding the Sep 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US, is believed by some analysts to be hiding in the Bajaur tribal zone in northwest Pakistan.

It quoted a Pentagon source as saying US forces in Afghanistan are lying in wait, “prepping up for a major battle”, as American troops inside Pakistan try to push bin Laden toward the Afghan border.

The main operations in Pakistan are being undertaken by Delta, the US army special operations unit, and the British SBS, the paper said.

Special forces are being sent to capture or kill Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists fighters based on intelligence provided by the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and its American counterpart the Security Co-Ordination Detachment, the Sunday Times added.

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