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Iranian Official Says Al-Qaeda Leader On The Loose

16 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's intelligence minister said today his country has broken up an Al-Qaeda cell that was active in the country, but that an Al-Qaeda leader has escaped and is at large.

Intelligence Minister Ali Younesi said Iranian intelligence services prevented attempts by the Al-Qaeda cell to launch attacks in the country.

Younesi said an Al-Qaeda leader he named as Abdul Malek is on the run somewhere inside Iran.

Younesi connected Malek to a group of fighters from Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network who are working with drug smugglers in eastern Iran.

He also said Iran has detained, jailed, or expelled 3,000 suspected Al-Qaeda members.

Younesi did not say when these detentions, jailings, and expulsions took place, or give any names or nationalities of those involved.

(Reuters)

Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org



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