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Arabic Media Roundup – 12 November 2002

Officials deny meeting between Iraqi Foreign Minister and Hizbollah leader

Leading figures in Hizbollah and Iraqi officials denied a report broadcast on Lebanon’s LBC satellite channel, according to which Naji ‘Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister, made a secret visit to Beirut during which he met, unofficially, with a personality, probably Nasralla, the Secretary-General of Hizbollah, according to the London-based Arabic daily, Al Hayyat.

Al Hayyat quotes Hizbollah’s press spokesman, Shaikh Hasan ‘Az A-Din who claimed, “the meeting between the Secretary-General of Hizbollah and the Iraqi foreign minister did not take place in any shape or form.”

Iraq views an escalation of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel as a lifeline whose importance is in deflecting the world’s attention away from it over to Israel. Moreover, the Palestinian problem has always bound together the Arab states and its very existence increases Arab solidarity, even if it is at times fake. A meeting between the Iraqi foreign minister and the Secretary-General, if it really took place, should make red lights flash for Israel. Collaboration between Iraq and Hizbollah, especially at a sensitive time like this, is likely to create tension on Israel’s northern border and to drag it into conflict, and even a war for which it has no desire.

Former Taliban Official: Bin Laden is Alive and is Hiding near the Pakistani Border

In a press conference in Bishawa, the former military commander of Nangahar, Haji Mouhammad Zamman, warned that “Osama Bin Laden is alive and is hiding in south east Afghanistan.” Zamman blamed the present commander of Nangahar, Hadhrat ‘Ali, for “helping Bin Laden to flee from Tora Bora and knowing where he is at the moment.” This information is from the London-based Arabic-language daily Al Hayyat, November 12.

Zamman’s statement aroused great interest because he was the district commander around Tora Bora before Bin Laden’s disappearance in December 2001. Afghan sources believe that the region Zamman was referring to is Khust, near the Pakistani border. An American plane was brought down there by a guided missile. There are conflicting sources as to the fate of the crew, numbering 15.

Terror bombing in Bali: I aimed at killing as many Americans as possible

The Indonesian police reported that the suspect in the terror attack in Bali wanted to “kill as many Americans as possible” in revenge for American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for the plight of the Palestinians. The police went on to say that the suspect “is not happy” that most of those injured are Australians, according to the London-based Arabic-language daily Al Hayyat, November 12.

The police claim that pipes filled with explosives were seized near the suspect’s house. The suspect is nicknamed ‘Amrousi. The police also claim that ‘Amrousi used to listen to the sermons of the extreme Indonesian leader, Abu Bakr Ba’ashir, held at the moment in one of Jakarta’s hospitals.