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Arab Satellite TV Channel Denies bin Laden Link - 2001-11-22


The Arab satellite television channel al-Jazeera says it has no special link with fugitive terror suspect Osama bin Laden.

In an interview with the Russian information service (Strana.ru), al-Jazeera spokesman Ibrahim Hilal says the Qatar-based service's connection to the exiled Saudi extremist was just luck. Mr. Hilal says al-Jazeera was the only satellite communications channel in the Afghan capital, Kabul, before U-S -led combat operations began early last month against Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and its Taleban sponsors.

The spokesman also says al-Jazeera executives decided Osama bin Laden deserved coverage because he is the central figure in the Afghan conflict.

Mr. Hilal says al-Jazeera has no reporters traveling with Osama bin Laden. He also says it is not likely the service will broadcast any more taped messages from the al-Qaida leader since the Americans bombed al-Jazeera's Kabul office and its correspondents have left the country.

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