CEOL
YU agency says Bin Laden in Kosovo

>BELGRADE, Apr 27, 2000 -- (AFP) Islamic Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, wanted for terrorism by the United States, is in Kosovo, the official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said Wednesday.

"After hiding out for several years in Afghanistan," the agency said in a dispatch from Kosovo's capital Pristina, bin Laden "has found a new refuge in the Balkans, precisely in Kosovo, the nest of European terrorism."

Tanjug said bin Laden, whom the agency described as a "terrorist and Islamic fanatic," arrived from Albania after having formed a group of 500 Islamic fighters in the eastern region around Korce and Pogradec to carry out "terrorist acts" in Kosovo.

He also planned similar acts in the southern region of Serbia bordering on Kosovo including Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, the Yugoslav agency said.

Tension has been mounting in the region over the past 10 days, with many armed incidents and increasing ethnic Albanian demands. Its population includes some 70,000 ethnic Albanians, many of whom have complained of being harassed or maltreated by the Serbian police.

Tanjug said bin Laden arrived in Kosovo accompanied by "a close collaborator, Abu Hassan."

Bin Laden is wanted by the United States in connection with the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which 224 people were killed.



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