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May 9, 2011

Iranian Intelligence Minister: Bin Laden dead long before US raid

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said Tehran has genuine intelligence showing that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had died of disease long before the United States' alleged raid. 

"We have accurate information that bin Laden died of illness some time ago," Moslehi told reporters on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting on Sunday.

He questioned Washington's claim that bin Laden was killed by American troops in a hiding compound in Pakistan on May 1.

"If the US military and intelligence apparatus have really arrested or killed bin Laden, why don't they show him (his dead body) why have they thrown his corpse into the sea?" Moslehi asked according to a Press TV report.

"When we apprehended (former Jundollah ringleader Abdolmalek) Rigi, we showed him and also aired his interview," the Iranian students news agency quoted the intelligence chief as saying.

By releasing such false news, he said, the White House seeks to overshadow regional awakening.

Moslehi said US officials resort to such PR campaigns to divert attention from their domestic problems as well as their "fragile" economic situation.

Also, a large number of former Pakistani intelligence and security officers and Generals dismissed the US claims that bin Laden was killed in the US military operation near the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad.

Former Director of Pakistan's Military Intelligence Organization General Hamid Gul in an interview with Pakistan's Urdu-language Daily Ausaf asked why the US is so hesitant to show the place and other details of bin Laden's hunt-down operation, while releasing, at least, some levels of information would ensure people that he is really dead.

He also dismissed US President Barack Obama's claim that none of the American forces involved in the operation was harmed, and underlined that Al-Qaeda operatives are among the best trained terrorists who know how to use their weapons against enemies.

Meantime, other former Pakistani security officials rejected the claims that bin Laden had been living in a house near a military academy near Islamabad for five years, underlining that bin Laden could not have lived there for five years without being noticed by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) or Pakistani Army.

Ausaf quoted other Pakistani figures as saying that bin Laden had been killed somewhere else but "the US is trying to stretch its war in Afghanistan to Pakistan and is accusing Pakistan through such scenarios to find an excuse for bringing its troops to Pakistan".

On Sunday US President Barack Obama announced that bin Laden was killed in a US operation in Pakistan.

US officials claimed that they have dropped bin Laden's body in the Arabian Sea after conducting the necessary postmortem examinations and DNA tests to make sure of his identity.

Yet, a US official later announced that bin Laden's hasty burial was in accordance with the Islamic law, requiring burial within 24 hours of death.

However, burial at sea is not an Islamic practice and Islam does not have a timeframe for burial.

US officials also claimed their decision for a sea burial was made because no country would accept bin Laden's remains, without elaborating on which countries were actually contacted on the matter.

Analysts, however, have raised serious questions as to why US officials did not allow for the application of independent DNA tests to officially confirm the identity of the corpse before its hasty burial.
 
Fars News Agency

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