Israeli intelligence agents were close to killing al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, five years before September 11, a Yedioth Ahronoth report to be published Friday reveals.
According to the report, Israeli intelligence officials assisted their Egyptian and American counterparts in an investigation into the attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia. The investigation revealed that a group of radicals who also operated in Sudan was involved in the attempted.
The Sudan group included one conspicuous figure, a wealthy Saudi contractor by the name of Osama Bin Laden.
An Israeli investigation was eventually able to identify Bin Laden's confidante, prompting officials to press her to join the operation. The efforts were made through cooperation with intelligence officials in the country where the woman was born and that maintains secret ties with Israel.
According to the plan, the woman was eventually supposed to assassinate her boss, Bin Laden.
The woman agreed to cooperate and the operation got under way, with Bin Laden's killing only a matter of time. However, as it turns out, a crisis between Israel and the Palestinian Authority put a freeze on ties between the Mossad and the foreign intelligence service involved in the operation.
By the time cooperation resumed, Bin Laden already moved to another country and the operation was never carried out.