A split has taken place among the militants of the Al-Qaeda organisation headed by Osama bin Laden, asserts the Saudi newspaper Al-Shark al-Ausat. According to the newspaper, a RIA Novosti correspondent reports, part of the militants are ready to fight till the last man standing, while many militants express their discontent that bin-Laden and his closest entourage did not take part in the battles for Tora Bora, but were hiding in caves, instead. "We do not intend to sacrifice our lives for them," the newspaper quotes one of the militants, who has surrendered, as saying. He said that bin Laden was still in one of the caves to the south of Tora Bora. Last time he was seen on Friday. According to other sources, however, accompanied by some supporters, he is heading for Pakistan. The newspaper quotes an Afghan officer as asserting that in the past few days the combat spirit of the militants has been undermined, there have been cases of desertion. The newspaper gives the evidence of one of the local inhabitants who said that the air strikes and shelling caused several land-slides in the mountains which killed many militants from Al-Qaeda and members of their families and also blocked the entrances to several caves. Apart from that, the militants' food reserves are running out. Earlier, foodstuffs were delivered by inhabitants of the local villages who were paid by bin Laden. But the Pashtu detachments which are conducting an offensive on Tora Bora have blocked all paths. The ultimatum to the Al-Qaeda militants expires on Wednesday. Under the terms of the capitulation, the militants have to be handed over to UN representatives. Some militants surrendered already in Tuesday.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea