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DEBKAfile's intelligence sources disclosed Monday night that Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan and his intelligence chiefs are well aware that Bin Laden and Zawahiri are hiding in Iran. The leak to the Kuwait paper was intended to show the Obama administration that the Turkish leader's ties with Iran had grown intense enough for him to be fully in the picture of Iran's secret sanctuary for the authors of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
On May 13, American intelligence sources reported in detail that senior al Qaeda operatives living in Iran had been allowed to leave the country through Syria to orchestrate terrorist attacks on American targets. Among them was Saif al-Adel, who is believed to have been assigned with planning an attack on the world soccer games opening in South Africa on June 12.
DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources disclose that the purpose of airing their precise whereabouts at this time, aside from implicating the Turkish leader, was first, to warn al Qaeda's leaders that their hideout was blown and they had better move on - which would make them easier to catch; and, second, to nudge US president Barak Obama into a decision to go after them.