Bin Laden Son Says Family Detained in Iran Seeks Possible U.S. Sanctuary
A son of Osama bin Laden said about 20 members of his family stranded in Iran are seeking sanctuary in a third country and that the U.S. may agree to accept them.
Omar bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader’s fourth son, said in an interview with Al Arabiya television that Iran is refusing to allow his relatives to go to Saudi Arabia. Shiite Muslim- dominated Iran is a regional rival of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaeda, a Sunni group, is hostile to Iran.
“The Americans offered to help them out of Iran and even hinted at the possibility of receiving them in the U.S.,” he said in the interview, which was aired late yesterday and posted on the Dubai-based channel’s website. Omar bin Laden said none of his brothers has been accused of terrorism by the U.S. or any other country.
The elder bin Laden’s relatives held under house arrest in Iran include five of his children and one of his wives, Al Arabiya said. The family had been living in Afghanistan and fled to Iran after the U.S. military began air strikes on the country following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
A daughter of bin Laden, Iman, 17, was allowed to leave Iran for Syria earlier this year after taking refuge in the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. Her brother, Bakr, 16, also left Iran for the Syrian capital of Damascus in December.
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