Former Montreal imam's confession helped track bin Laden: Author

People waving U.S. flags cheer outside the White House over the death of Osama Bin Laden in Washington, May 2, 2011.

Credits: REUTERS/Jim Young


MONTREAL - The confession of a former Montreal Islamic preacher allegedly helped track and kill Osama bin Laden, according to an American author.

Mark Bowden's new book, The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden, describes how an imam who preached at a Montreal mosque was arrested in Mauritania and gave interrogators the name of an important bin Laden associate.

The associate, Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, was allegedly one of bin Laden's loyal messengers. It was this name that Bowden claims allowed the Americans to locate bin Laden in April 2011. The man wanted for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was hiding in a suburb of the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

The former Montreal preacher is named Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Bowden writes that Slahi joined al-Qaida in the 90s and moved to Montreal in 1999 where he assumed imam responsibilities at a mosque.

Slahi allegedly became acquainted with several North African immigrants living in Montreal who had connections to bin Laden, including Ahmed Ressam. Ressam was recently sentenced to 37 years in prison after allegedly trying to bomb the Los Angeles airport in 2000.

Slahi was arrested in Mauritania after Sept. 11, 2001, and was submitted to what Bowden described as "coercive interrogations." It is during these interrogations that Slahi allegedly gave up the name, Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.

Bowden writes that Slahi was the first person to mention al-Kuwaiti to the Americans.

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