The tough line on Iran contemplated by the Bush administration is partly driven by intelligence reports that al-Qaida leaders are being sheltered by the Iranian revolutionary guards at one of the former shah’s hunting lodges, it emerged yesterday. The terrorist leaders suspected of taking refuge in Iran include Saif al-Adel, an Eygptian believed to have risen to number three in the organisation, and Abu Mohammed al-Masri, a suspected organiser of the 1998 embassy bombings in east Africa. They may also include Saad bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden’s sons. The trail of clues that led to a grand hunting lodge – now a military base – in the eastern highlands near the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan, surfaced after an air crash in February outside the city of Kerman killed 200 soldiers from the revolutionary guards. According to a Washington source, the crash produced intelligence that the revolutionary guards were “hosting” the al-Qaida leaders. One theory is that the soldiers were returning from a tour of duty as guards at the lodge. Full Story
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