Study considers likely bin Laden hideouts

Feb. 17, 2009 at 10:31 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Fugitive terrorist Osama bin Laden is most likely hiding out in a walled compound in a Pakistani border town, U.S. researchers theorize.

USA Today reported Tuesday that a team of scientists led by geographer Thomas Gillespie of the University of California at Los Angeles used analytical tools that have been successful in locating urban criminals and endangered species to help say where bin Laden might be hiding.

The scientists say the al-Qaida leader is hiding in one of three compounds in Parachinar, a town 12 miles from the Pakistani border with Afghanistan.

"I've never really believed the sitting-in-a-cave theory. That's the last place you would want to be bottled up," Gillespie said.

The study was reported in the MIT International Review.

The newspaper reported that the study generated hiding-place location probabilities. It starts with "distance decay theory," which holds that the odds are greater that the person will be found close to where he or she was last seen.

"The combination of physical terrain, socio-cultural gravitational factors and the physical characteristic of structures are all important factors in developing an area limitation for terror suspects," said John Goolgasian of the federal National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Bethesda, Md.

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