The daughters, identified as Raghad and Rana, were accompanied by nine children.

 

But the official, who spoke to AFP news agency, was unable to specify who the children were.

  

He said King Abdullah agreed to host them because of the difficult situation in their country.

  

"We do not know how long they will stay in Jordan. The fact is that they benefit from Jordanian protection as long as they are in the country," he added.

 

Assassinated for treason

  

Raghad and Rana were married respectively to Hussein Kamel Hassan and his brother Saddam Kamel Hassan, who both defected to Jordan in 1995 with their wives and total of seven children.

 

"We do not know how long they will stay in Jordan. The fact is that they benefit from Jordanian protection as long as they are in the country" --Jordanian official

The families returned to Iraq in February 1996, but the two men, their brother and a sister, as well as other family members, were assassinated by Saddam's regime after being accused of treason.

  

Raghad and Rana have since been living out of the public eye with their mother, Sajida, apparently under close watch.

  

Saddam has a third daughter Hala, whose husband was arrested by US forces following the fall of Baghdad on April 9.