US Officials: Bin Laden's Son Likely Killed In Airstrike

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Saad bin Laden, a son of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, may have been killed in a U.S. airstrike, U.S. officials said Thursday. The son was likely killed in Pakistan in the last several months, approximately in late spring, said a counterterrorism official, one of three Obama administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

Though many in the intelligence community believe he is dead, they can't be 100 percent certain because no body or DNA evidence was recovered to prove it, one official said.

The U.S. has carried out more than 45 missile attacks with drones in Pakistan's border region since last August, most targeting foreign al-Qaida militants and those accused of violence in neighboring Afghanistan. Saad was not considered a heavy hitter in his father's organization and was not the target of the strike, but rather was killed during a strike intended for someone else, National Public Radio said, quoting unidentified officials.

Saad was born in 1982 and is one of 19 children Osama bin Laden is thought to have, officials have said.

The younger bin Laden was believed to have fled Afghanistan shortly after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 that routed his father from safe haven there and overthrew the Taliban regime.

Officials have said he went to Iran and was held under a form of house arrest from 2003 to 2008, before turning up in Pakistan, where his father has reportedly been in hiding somewhere in the ungoverned border region near Afghanistan.

In January, the Treasury slapped financial sanctions on the younger bin Laden and three other al-Qaida figures. In announcing a freeze on their assets held under U.S. jurisdiction, Treasury also said that people from the United States would be barred from engaging in financial transactions with them.

Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence at the time, told a news conference that the move to Pakistan made Saad more vulnerable to being captured or killed by the U.S. or its allies.

"It is better in my world if they are in places that we have access," McConnell said. Pakistan is a U.S. ally in the struggle against Islamic extremists, while the United States has no diplomatic relations with Iran.

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  • by Jim Location: enc on Jul 24, 2009 at 04:14 PM
    GOOD!!! I hope they wipe out his entire seed, plus him.
  • by Wyle Location: E. Coyote on Jul 24, 2009 at 01:08 PM
    No Wolfgang, pacifism is how you neo-cons attempt to misclassify we Dems by lumping us all into one over-generalized, erroneous category. This US Veteran Dem is all for wiping out the Taliban and thinks we should have gone after them heavier and longer after 9/11. Remember, it was THEY who killed 3000 fellow citizens on this date.
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on Jul 24, 2009 at 10:03 AM
    Is this what you left wing democratic liberals expected form Obama? I thought you were all about non violence
  • by Wyle Location: E. Coyote on Jul 23, 2009 at 05:04 PM
    This is good news, y'all. If this had been done 8 months prior there'd be a-chest-a thumpin' patriotic cluckin' over our glorious "War President" and the savin' ova America of his glorious ways that is not recognized by the hand-out grabbin' ingrate socialist voters. Still, a salute to the Good Ol' USA!
  • by Anonymous on Jul 23, 2009 at 04:48 PM
    Another publicity stunt, courtesy of your Deparment Of Defense.
  • by Dave on Jul 23, 2009 at 04:17 PM
    If you want to see 70 virgins, just go to a screening of the new Harry Potter movie.
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Jul 23, 2009 at 03:35 PM
    MrT, those 70 virgins are young boys.
  • by Jimbo Location: NC on Jul 23, 2009 at 02:27 PM
    Good!! Maybe we can find daddy next.
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Jul 23, 2009 at 01:46 PM
    Made a good bin Laden out of him, didn't they? I wonder how surprised he was when his 70 virgins weren't waiting there for him, just Satan instead.

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