Osama bin Laden passed through Brazil's border area with Argentina and Paraguay in 1995, a leading weekly magazine reported this weekend, citing Brazilian military intelligence sources.

Bin Laden, blamed by the United States for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon, met with the Arab community in the Brazilian town of Foz do Iguacu during his brief visit, the weekly Veja reported.

The so-called triple border area where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet has long been a suspected haven and source of financing for militants.

Suspicions have focused on the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, and since the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States has asked the region's authorities to step up surveillance of the area.

Brazil says there is no evidence of terrorist activities in the region.

Veja cited a videotape of bin Laden participating in meetings at a mosque in the area during his visit. He was reported to have entered Brazil from Argentina.

Brazilian police said last week that they believe another prominent member of the al Qaeda network, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, also traveled to the region in 1995.

Mohammed was captured in Pakistan this month.

Veja said Brazil had passed on information about the visits to U.S. authorities in 1998 after two U.S. embassies in Africa were bombed. Al Qaeda is suspected to have been behind the attacks.