Carlos the Jackal expressed his admiration Wednesday for a man who followed him as the world's most wanted terrorist — Usama bin Laden.
"I'm proud of the path of Sheik Usama bin Laden," Carlos was quoted as saying in an interview in the London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat. He said bin Laden followed a trail he credits himself with helping blaze.
Al-Hayat said it sent written questions to Carlos in his French prison and he sent handwritten answers back. His real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez.
Ramirez also said he had followed news of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States "nonstop, from the beginning. I can't describe that wonderful feeling of relief."
Ramirez, a Venezuelan, was sentenced to life in prison in 1997 by a Paris court for the 1975 murders of two French secret agents and an alleged informer.
Ramirez has described himself as "anti-imperialist" and said in the past that he had never had links with bin Laden, but had "strategic points of agreement" with bin Laden's movement.
Once the world's most-wanted terrorist, Ramirez spent two decades on the run. He was sought for masterminding bombings, assassinations and kidnappings dating to the early 1970s, and was captured in Sudan by French secret agents in 1994.
Ramirez says he is a communist and a Muslim, and sympathized with the Palestinian cause and at times found sanctuary with Palestinian guerrillas who ran their own mini-state in Lebanon before the 1982 Israeli invasion forced most of them out of the county.
Ramirez said he hopes bin Laden is still alive. He said if the Saudi-born dissident "hasn't gained martyrdom, he most probably will play a decisive role" in the war on imperialism.
Bin Laden's whereabouts have been unknown since the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan began in October following the terror attacks.
In Al-Hayat's interview, Ramirez was asked, but didn't answer, if he had ever met bin Laden. The two were in Sudan during the same period.