Some of Osama bin Laden’s closet family have been found hiding out in a secret compound in Tehran, Iran. They want to leave the country and say they are the “forgotten victims of 9/11.”
Saad bin Laden; Omar Ossama bin Laden with his wife Zaina; Ossman bin
Laden; and Muhammad and Bakr bin Laden
Omar Ossama bin Laden, 29, the Al Qaeda leader’s
fourth-eldest son, said he had no idea that his brothers and sisters
were still alive until they called him in November. They told him how
they had fled Afghanistan just before the 9/11 attacks and walked to
the Iranian border. They were taken to a walled compound outside Tehran
where guards said they were not allowed to leave “for their own
safety”. The eldest of the children, Saad, was 20 at the time, Ossman
17, Muhammad 15, Fatma 14, Hamza 12, Iman 9, and Bakr, 7.
There had been speculation that Muhammad was second in command of al-Qaeda and
that Saad also instigated and plotted terrorist attacks until he was killed
about 18 months ago by an American drone. The relatives, however, said that
Muhammad is still living in the compound and that Saad ran away less than a
year ago in an attempt to find his mother.
A week after making contact with her brother, Iman escaped during a rare trip
outside the compound and made her way to the Saudi Arabian Embassy. She is
now living there while seeking permission to leave Iran.
Mr bin Laden said that his relatives live as normal a life as possible,
cooking meals, watching television and reading. They are allowed out only
rarely for shopping trips. As a number of families are being held in the
compound some of the older siblings have been able to marry and have their
own children. “The Iranian Government did not know what to do with this
large group of people that nobody else wanted, so they just kept them safe.
For that we owe them much gratitude, and thank Iran from the depth of our
heart,” he said.
Mr bin Laden, who had lived with his father in exile in Sudan and Afghanistan
but left before the 9/11 attacks, now hopes that the family will be given
permission to leave Iran and join his mother, brother and two sisters in
Syria, or himself and his wife in Qatar.
He said: “They are all just innocent victims, just the same as anyone else
hurt by the dreadful events of 9/11 and 7/7. These babies and children have
never had any education, never hurt a single soul, never trained with any
weapons or ever been part of al-Qaeda. We just want to be together as a
family. I have now got 11 nieces and nephews, born either in Afghanistan or
Iran that I have never seen.
“Some may find this story unnerving, but the child can’t be judged by the sins
of their father.”
Saad bin Laden was released by Iran in late 2008. It is believed that he was killed in an American Hellfire missile strike from a Predator drone in Pakistan in July 2009.
Eman bin Laden, the 17-year-old daughter of Osama bin Laden fled the Iranian compound and made her way to the Saudia Arabian Embassy in October or November 2009, where she has received asylum. More.
Another bin Laden son, Abdullah, who lives in Saudi Arabia, told the
Arab TV news network Al-Jazeera in an interview aired this week that
Eman telephoned him after she eluded guards who were taking her on a
shopping trip in Tehran.
Osama bin Laden reportedly has 19
children by several wives. He took at least one of his wives and their
children with him to Afghanistan in the late 1990s after he was thrown
out of his previous refuge, Sudan. They fled when the U.S-led war
erupted, including the group that tried to escape through Iran….
Most of the al-Qaida leader’s children, like Omar, live as legitimate
businessmen. The extended bin Laden family, one of the wealthiest in
Saudi Arabia, disowned Osama in 1994 when Saudi Arabia stripped him of
his citizenship because of his militant activities. Osama bin Laden’s
billionaire father Mohammed, who died in 1967, had more than 50
children and founded the Binladen Group, a construction conglomerate
that gets many major building contracts in the kingdom.
Source and Photo Credit: TimesOnline