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Bin Laden''s missing family found in Iran
London, Dec 23 (IANS):
Published on 23 Dec. 2009 10:57 PM IST
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Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's closest family members have been found living in a secret compound in Iran, a newspaper reported Wednesday. They include a wife and six children who disappeared from his Afghan camp at the time of the 9/11 attacks, The Times reported, quoting other relatives. Also in the group are 11 grandchildren. All the relatives have been kept in a high-security compound outside Tehran and prevented from contacting the outside world. Omar Ossama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader's fourth-eldest son, told the newspaper he had no idea that his brothers and sisters were still alive until they called him in November. They told him 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 relatives told The Times that two of the children have run away from the compound - Saad, the eldest, escaped in an attempt to find his mother and was reportedly killed by a US drone on the Afpak border. Iman fled during a rare trip outside the compound and made her way to the Saudi Arabian Embassy, and continues to live there while seeking permission to leave Iran. Omar Ossama 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. 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. He hoped 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. "Some may find this story unnerving, but the child can't be judged by the sins of their father," he added.

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