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Thursday, September 13, 2001 - Web posted at 12:33:30 pm GMT

Aide says bin Laden denies role in U.S. attacks

ISLAMABAD - An aide to Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden said the militant had denied any role in Tuesday's terror attacks in the United States, an Arab journalist in Pakistan said on Thursday.

Jamal Ismail, the bureau chief of Abu Dhabi Television, told Reuters the aide -- who did not want to be named -- called him from an undisclosed location by satellite phone on Wednesday to issue the denial.

The aide quoted bin Laden as calling the attacks on U.S. landmarks in New York and Washington as "punishment from almighty Allah", adding that bin Laden said: "I have no information about the attackers or their aims and I don't have any links with them".

U.S. investigators have pointed the finger of responsibility at bin Laden -- who livs in exle in Afghanistan -- for involvement in Tuesday's attacks.

The dissident is wanted in the United States also for trial on previous charges that he masterminded the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed more than nearly 300 people and injured over 5,000. Nampa-Reuters


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