Did Bali bomber Patek’s arrest help US reach Osama?

May 5th, 2011 - 12:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, May 5 (ANI): The arrest of Bali bomber Umar Patek, who was seeking a meeting with Osama bin Laden, has raised questions about whether Patek provided vital information to the mission that was appointed to kill Osama or, did his arrest by Pakistani intelligence risk upsetting the American operation.

Patek, who was arrested in Abbottabad, a few kilometres from the al-Qaeda chief’s hideout, was the last major figure involved in the 2002 Bali attacks that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

He was arrested on January 25, nine days after stopping over in the mountain garrison town on his way to meet senior al-Qaeda leaders in North Waziristan.

Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said: “The information that we have with Umar Patek (and about) why he was in Pakistan . . . is (he was) trying to meet with Osama bin Laden.”

That information will spark intense interest in the intelligence community, given suggestions that Patek, an explosives expert with high-ranking contacts within al-Qaeda, may have been hoping to confer with bin Laden over a planned terror strike to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, The Australian reports.

In Abbottabad, Pakistani security officers once again closed access to the leafy suburb of Bilal Town where bin Laden and his family lived. Intelligence officials sifted through the compound and Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani flew in to inspect the site.

Retired Pakistani general turned security analyst Talat Masood said: “It is highly possible that Patek’s arrest was the final nail in bin Laden’s coffin. His arrest was almost certainly quite significant in that sense.”

Pakistani officials desperate to rebut US accusations that people in their intelligence and military community helped bin Laden to settle and remain hidden in Abbottabad have fanned speculation that Patek gave up information that assisted the US mission. (ANI)

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