Thursday, May 5, 2011

Contractor who built Osama's house questioned

2011-05-04 21:00:00
Last Updated: 2011-05-04 21:24:27

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities on Wednesday detained and
questioned the contractor who built the compound near the garrison city of Abbottabad where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed during a raid by US special forces.
Noor Muhammad, also known as Gul Madah or Mithu Khan, was picked up at 2 am from his residence near Bilal Town neighbourhood, where bin Laden's compound is located, TV news channels reported.

Muhammad, aged between 45 and 50 years, was released in the afternoon after being questioned at an undisclosed location.
He hails from Battagram district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and had been living near Abbottabad for some years.

Security agencies also questioned others involved in constructing the compound and providing construction materials.
After he was released, Muhammad told Geo News channel that he began constructing the compound after the 2005 earthquake that hit northern Pakistan and the Kashmir region.

The compound was completed in about 18 months, he said.
Muhammad said he was given the plans for the compound and funds by one Arshad Khan from Charsadda district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Khan is believed to be the courier whose detection led the CIA to bin Laden.
The courier and his brother were killed along with bin Laden during Monday's raid by helicopter-borne US special forces on the compound located about 800 yards from the Pakistan Military Academy.

Bin Laden's presence in the compound near one of the country's main military training facilities has caused embarrassment for the military and intelligence set-ups and led to pointed questions from top US anti-terrorism officials like CIA chief Leon Panetta and Counter-Terrorism Advisor John Brennan.

An unnamed Inter-Services Intelligence official told Western media on Tuesday that the compound had been raided in 2003 during a search for a top Al Qaida operative.
Since then, the compound had not been on the ISI's radar, the official said.

The land for the compound was acquired in three separate deals by Arshad Khan.
Mahfooz-ul-Haq, a doctor, sold a plot to Khan in 2005.

The most wanted man's compound, to which the media was given limited access on Tuesday after the military handed it over to police, was sealed again this morning as US and Pakistani officials visited to examine it.


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