IRAQ risks disintegrating and becoming a terrorist haven as insurgents battle US-led forces and their Iraqi allies, Germany's top intelligence official August Hanning said yesterday.
A breakup would destabilise the Middle East, boost Islamist terrorism worldwide and might allow terrorists in Iraq to put scientists involved in Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes to work for them, said Mr Hanning, who heads the Federal Intelligence Service. Mr Hanning did not specifically blame al-Qaida for near daily attacks on US-led occupation troops and Iraqis, but he voiced the belief that Osama bin Laden is alive and still influences the terror network he founded.
"All indications are that he is alive," Mr Hanning said, adding: "We continue to see traces of his activity."
German intelligence officials believe that Mr bin Laden is living in the Afghan-Pakistani border area, he said.