Dubai, May 5: Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was betrayed by his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri who led US forces to his hideout as the two were involved in an intense power struggle, a Saudi newspaper has reported.
The two top al Qaeda men had differences and the courier who led US forces to bin Laden was working and had more loyalties for Zawahiri, al Watan newspaper reported quoting Arab sources.
“The Egyptian faction of al-Qaeda led by Zawahiri was defacto running the militant group, after bin Laden was taken ill in 2004 and they were trying to take full control,” the paper said.
The courier was a Pakistani national and not a Kuwaiti as the US suspected and the man knew he was being followed but disguised the fact.
The paper claimed it was Zawahiri's faction which had persuaded Osama to leave tribal areas close to Afghanistan-Pakistan border to take shelter instead in Abbottabad, where he was finally killed by US SEALs on Monday. The plan to dispose off bin Laden had by a prominent al-Qaeda commander Saif al Adel of Egyptian descent, who returned to Pakistan from Iran, last autumn. Al Adel had reportedly escaped to Iran escorting Osama's other son and family members after 9/11.
Al-Adel is a member of the majlis al shura of al-Qaeda and a member of its military committee, and he provided military and intelligence training to members of al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan, and to anti-UN Somali tribes. PTI