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Exiled Mullah Denies Claims of Terror Ties Made by U.S.

Mullah Krekar, the founder of a militant Islamic organization based in northern Iraq, wore a wan smile as he watched today’s television coverage of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell telling the United Nations Security Council that the organization was providing a safe haven to members of Al Qaeda while aligning itself with Saddam Hussein’s regime. “This is just not true,” Mullah Krekar, whose group is Ansar al-Islam, said in the basement of a private club here. “Powell is trying to make a link that does not exist. Saddam Hussein is my enemy. I have never met a member of Al Qaeda. Powell’s information is propaganda — it’s very odd and very weak.” Mr. Powell did not mention Mullah Krekar by name, although the mullah, who is 47 and has been granted refugee status in Norway, had expected to be singled out. But the secretary of state did dwell on Ansar al-Islam, seeking to demonstrate the existence of a fledgling alliance between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Full Story

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