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Bin Laden linked to terror plot in Europe

BERLIN -- The United States has told Germany that evidence pulled from Osama bin Laden's hideout shows the terror chief was linked to a plot to attack targets in Europe last year, a senior German official told The Associated Press yesterday.

Two U.S. officials also told the AP that bin Laden had advised Europe-based militants to attack in unspecified mainland European countries just before Christmas. They offered no details.

Separately, bin Laden encouraged multiple attacks on Danish targets because of disparaging references to the Muslim prophet Mohammed in Danish media, the U.S. officials said.

European security officials said earlier this month they'd seen very little of the information from the May 2 raid on bin Laden's hideout, but the Americans have begun sharing more information with intelligence agencies in Europe.

The German official said U.S. officials had told their German counterparts that information retrieved from the Pakistani house where bin Laden was killed shows that senior al-Qaida member Sheikh Yunis al Mauritania was in contact with bin Laden about the Europe plot.

A 29-year-old Moroccan terror suspect was arrested last month in Dusseldorf with letters between him and al Mauritania about planned terror attacks in Europe, the official told the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

He and other European security officials said they have not seen evidence to suggest that bin Laden was involved in planning the attacks.

"We now know he was a lot more operational than previously thought -- and there's some interesting information that has come out on this -- but whether this means he was involved in the actual planning or advising remains unclear," said a European security official.

A senior French security official said yesterday that the United States had also shared some of the intelligence collected from bin Laden's compound with them, but so far he has not seen any evidence linking bin Laden to the 2010 Europe terror plot.

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