By DUBAI (Al Arabiya)
Al-Qaeda leader’s fourth-born son Omar bin Laden in an interview with Al Arabiya TV said Iran offered to turn over about 20 members of his family it has held for eight years to a third country other than Saudi Arabia.
“I think the time has come for my family members to leave Iran but their lack of identification papers and passports made us in need of another third-party country willing to receive them after Iran refused to hand them over to Saudi Arabia, ” Omar said.
“Othman (his brother held in Tehran) called me by phone four days ago and asked me to find a country to mediate their release and accept to receive them,” he added.
Omar said that neither the United States nor any other country has accused any of his brothers of terrorism, adding that “the Americans offered to help my brothers out of Iran and even hinted to the possibility of receiving them in the United States.”
Omar said the names of the al-Qaeda leader’s children held in Tehran were: Othman bin Laden (27) who supports two wives, two sons and a daughter, Saad bin Laden (30) who has two daughters and a son, Mohammed bin Laden (25) who married a daughter of Qaeda’s military commander Abu Hafs al-Masri, better known as Mohammed Atef, and has two daughters and a baby, Hamza (19) who has a wife and two children (Osama and Khairya) and also supports his mother Ms. Khairya Saber. Also among Bin Laden’s children held in Iran are his daughter Fatima bin Laden (24) and her husband and daughter, Najwa.
Bin Laden’s children and his wife Umm Hamza (mother of Hamza, Khairya Saber) arrived in Iran after a “two-week-long, difficult and miserable trip” and stayed in several apartments in the capital Tehran without drawing attention for several months.
But Iranian authorities, who carefully monitored dozens of Arab Afghans who crossed into Iranian borders in search for a safe place after the fall of the Taliban, eventually held the bin Laden family and other Arabs in a detention center in Tehran.
*(Written by Mustapha Ajbaili)