BIN LADEN SON KILLED BY U.S. MISSILE STRIKE: REPORTS - New York Post
BIN LADEN SON KILLED BY U.S. MISSILE STRIKE: REPORTS
Last updated: 10:37 pm
July 22, 2009
Posted: 9:02 pm
July 22, 2009
The son of Osama bin Laden - a key al-Qaeda terrorist with the blood of dozens of Westerners on his hands from a 2003 bombing - was killed by Hellfire missiles fired from a U.S. Predator, two reports said tonight.
Sa'ad bin Laden is thought to have died in a strike earlier this year, the independent Long War Journal reported on its Web site."We're pretty sure but we're not certain," one official told the outlet, which is published by Public Multimedia Inc. "We are hopeful."
NPR reported the missile strike was in Pakistan.
The evil heir was described in a US Treasury report as someone who made "key decisions for al Qaeda and was part of a small group of al Qaeda members that was involved in managing the terrorist organization from Iran."
He spent years under house arrest in Iran before traveling last year to Pakistan, according to former National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell.
"As of September 2008, it was possible that Sa'ad bin Laden was no longer in Iranian custody," Treasury reported in January.
A senior U.S. counterterrorism official told NPR that without a body to conduct DNA tests on, it's hard to be completely sure.
But he characterized U.S. spy agencies as being "80 to 85 percent" certain that Sa'ad bin Laden is dead.
Officials who spoke to The Long War Journal wouldn't identify where or when the airstrike took place.
But the outlet noted a covert US air campaign has focused heavily on North and South Waziristan regions of Pakistan, hitting high and mid-level Taliban and al-Qaeda leders in the since June 2004.
Though al-Qaeda typically issues a so-called martyrdom statement for senior leaders and commanders killed in battle, there has been none for Sa'ad bin Laden, who is believed to be in his 20s.
He is an operational commander who was involved in the 2003 bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which killed 35 people - including nine Americans - in attacks targeting areas where Westerners were living.
He also is reported to have facilitated communications between al-Qaeda No. 2 thug Ayman al Zawahiri and Qods Force, the notorious special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, in September 2008 after the deadly attack on the US embassy in Yemen, The Long War Journal said.
The young bin Laden is thought to have entered Pakistan's northwest to meet with Zawahiri in Pakistan sometime in early September, Mike McConnell, the outgoing Director of National Intelligence, told the outlet.