US troops were led to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by his own deputy, Ayman alZawahiri, because of a simmering internal power struggle, a Saudi newspaper reported on Thursday.
Al-Watan newspaper, quoting an unnamed “regional source,” said the top two al Qaeda men had differences and that a courier who led US forces to Bin Laden was working for Zawahiri. The courier was a Pakistan national and not a Kuwaiti as the US suspected, Al-Watan said. The man knew he was being followed by the US military but disguised the fact.
“The Egyptian faction of al Qaeda is defacto running the organisation now and since he was taken ill in 2004 they have been trying to take full control.”
It said Zawahiri’s faction had persuaded Bin Laden to leave the tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border and take shelter instead in Abbottabad near Islamabad where he was finally killed by US commandos on Monday.
With the return of an Egyptian figure in al Qaeda, Saif alAdel, last autumn from Iran, the Egyptian faction had hatched a plan to dispose of Saudi-born Bin Laden, according to Al-Watan.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2011.