RealNews

Militant Not Seen As Senior al-Qaida Aide

A disabled militant who was billed as a close confidant to Osama bin Laden surrendered under a Saudi amnesty offer, the most important figure to turn himself in so far. Khaled bin Ouda bin Mohammed al-Harby could provide clues about the fugitive al-Qaida leader, though a U.S. counterterrorism official said he is not considered an operational planner for the terror network. Another U.S. official, who declined to be identified, said al-Harby was not a senior member of al-Qaida and called him “an aging mujahideen.” Al-Harby had been seen on a videotape with the al-Qaida chief as he talked about the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He surrendered to Saudi diplomats in Iran and was flown to the kingdom Tuesday. Al-Harby was shown on Saudi TV being pushed in a wheelchair through the Riyadh airport. Mansour al-Nogaidan, a Riyadh journalist and former militant, said al-Harby was disabled in both legs while fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. He used to preach in a mosque in Mecca, but left Saudi Arabia for Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. Full Story

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