UPDATE 1-Bomber's wife "proud" husband killed CIA officers

Thu Jan 7, 2010 10:22pm IST

* Says she was shocked at news of husband's death

* Learned of bombing in call from friend in Pakistan

(Recasts with new quotes)

ANKARA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The wife of a double agent who killed seven CIA officers in a suicide attack in Afghanistan said on Thursday her husband regarded the United States as an enemy and she was proud of his mission.

Defne Bayrak, the Turkish wife of Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, said she doubted he was working for the CIA.

"I am proud of my husband. He has carried out a very important mission in such a war," Bayrak, who now lives in Istanbul, told reporters.

"I think it's impossible that he was an American agent. He was too adversary to work for America. He only could have used America and Jordan to reach his goals."

Bayrak, a journalist who has written books including one entitled "Osama bin Laden: Che Guevara of the East", earlier told the newspaper Sabah she believed her husband was in Afghanistan to pursue his medical studies and she was shocked at news of his death.

Wearing a black chador, she said she learned in a phone call from one of her Jordanian husband's friends in Pakistan that he had blown himself up at a U.S. base in Afghanistan on Dec. 30. The friend also told her he would send her her husband's will and last letter, she said.

"Our last phone call took place about four to six weeks ago and we made contact through the Internet 10 days ago. He told me he would come back to Turkey and would even apply for Turkish citizenship. He would continue his medical studies here."

Balawi blew himself up inside Forward Operating Base Chapman, a well-fortified compound in Khost province near the southeastern border with Pakistan.

Al Qaeda's Afghan wing has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, the second-most deadly attack in CIA history, saying it was revenge for the deaths of their leaders.

"He's a very strong character. If he did it, he must have done it on his own will. Nobody can make him do things," Bayrak told Sabah.

Former intelligence officials have said Balawi, a doctor, was recruited by Jordanian intelligence to try to infiltrate al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Balawi had associated with Islamists in the past, but U.S. and Jordanian spy agencies believed he had been successfully "de-radicalised".

Bayrak said she met her husband while he was studying medicine at Istanbul University. They lived in Jordan, where they had two daughters, before moving back to Turkey in October 2009.

"I am not the one to decide whether he is a martyr or not. I pray to Allah to accept his martyrdom." (Writing by Ibon Villelabeitia; editing by Andrew Dobbie)

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