Courier phone call helped nab bin Laden

2011-05-07 14:57
Washington - An innocuous phone call from Osama bin Laden's courier to an old friend was a key turning point in the decade-long hunt for the al-Qaeda leader, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

A friend had called to catch up with Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, the pseudonym for the man US investigators said was the main courier for bin Laden.

When asked how he had been and what he was doing now, al-Kuwaiti responded, "I'm back with the people I was with before."

After a pause, the friend replied: "May God facilitate."

On hearing this exchange, US intelligence officers knew they were on to something, the report said.

Phone number

That call led them to the fortified compound in Abbottabad, 60km north of Islamabad, where bin Laden was shot dead on Monday in a raid by elite US commandos.

"This is where you start the movie about the hunt for bin Laden," the Post quoted one US official as saying.

US intelligence agencies had been searching for al-Kuwaiti for four years and that call gave them the number of the courier's mobile phone.

The compound where bin Laden lived had no telephone lines or internet. Al-Kuwaiti and others would drive 90 minutes away from the house before putting batteries in their mobile phones and then make calls, in order to avoid any kind of surveillance.

- SAPA
Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  osama bin laden  |  pakistan  |  security
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