Pakistan denies al-Qaeda chief trapped

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Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper quoting “a US intelligence source” said bin Laden and “up to 50 fanatical henchmen” were inside an area 16km wide “north of the town of Khanozai and the city of Quetta”.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said bin Laden had not been “boxed in”.

According to the source, bin Laden moved into the area, “in the desolate Toba Kakar mountains”, about a month ago from another area 240km to the south, the Sunday Express said.

In Washington, a Defence Department spokesman declined to comment.

Pakistan has stepped up security near the rugged border with Afghanistan ahead of new operations aimed at cornering Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, Pakistani intelligence sources said yesterday.