Attacks commission links 'Black Hawk Down' to bin Laden

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    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=423422004

    Attacks commission links 'Black Hawk Down' to bin Laden

    FRASER NELSON POLITICAL EDITOR


    OSAMA bin Laden was behind the "Black Hawk Down" disaster in 1993 which triggered the United States’ withdrawal from Somalia, according to the latest document from the commission on the 11 September attacks.

    In an astonishing revelation, the commission suggested that al-Qaeda was active in Mogadishu when 18 US marines were killed and the body of a dead soldier was dragged through the streets.

    New information has "revealed the previously unknown involvement of bin Laden’s organisation ... in the 1993 shootdown of US army Blackhawk helicopters in Somalia".

    The report also linked bin Laden to the 1992 Yemen hotel attack and a 1995 bombing in Riyadh of the US training mission to the Saudi National Guard.

    No evidence was offered for any of the assertions.

    Tim Ripley, research associate at the Centre for Defence and International Security Studies at Lancaster University, said he regards the new claims as questionable.

    "I would be sceptical unless they came up with some evidence," he said. "At the time, the conflict in Somalia was attributed to inter-tribal conflict between clan leaders who were out to maximise their power and drive UN and American peacekeeping forces from the country."

    The Black Hawk Down incident - made into a book and an award-winning film - led to the deaths of several US elite Delta Force troops who were on a mission to capture a pair of high-ranking Somalian warlords.

    They remained trapped for 18 hours in the most hostile district of Mogadishu until a rescue convoy was mounted to retrieve them.

    The sight of the corpses of the captured soldiers is credited for persuading former US president Bill Clinton to pull out of the UN peacekeeping force.

    Echoes of the incident were seen earlier this month in Iraq when the bodies of US contract workers were dragged through the streets of Fallujah.
     

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