Iran 'not hosting' Bin Ladin's son

Iran has poured scorn on a claim that Usama bin Ladin's son is running al-Qaida network from Tehran.

    Usama bin Ladin is said to have more than 24 children

    The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Saad bin Ladin

    is part of a small group of leaders running the group with Iran's backing.

    Citing intelligence sources, the newspaper said

     bin Ladin's eldest son 

    was in contact with an al-Qaida cell

    in Saudi Arabia prior to a May bombing attack in Riyadh

     that killed 35 people.

    The sources said

    their contacts led them to conclude the attacks were

    planned in Iran and ordered from there.

    Riyadh bombing

    The newspaper said Saudi Arabia had been trying to persuade

    Iran to extradite bin Ladin and other suspects in the

    bombing.

    Saudi officials estimate there are up to 400 al-Qaida

    members in Iran.

    But Muhammad Iskandari, of the Iranian embassy in London, vehemently denied Saad bin Ladin was in Iran.

    He said: "These claims are untrue. Iran is at the forefront of the

    campaign against terrorism. We have expelled 2300 people without valid identity documents from our borders, we have handed

    over 100 al-Qaida suspects, and we are going to prosecute more."

    "Iran is at the forefront of the

    campaign against terrorism. We have expelled 2300 people without valid identity documents from our borders, we have handed

    over 100 al-Qaida suspects, and we are going to prosecute more"

    Muhammad Iskandari,

    Iranian embassy, London

    Suspicious timing

    And Iskandari said the timing of the Washington Post story - weeks before Iran has to prove it is not developing nuclear weapons - was highly suspect.

    "The US and the Zionist regime are using all their efforts to put pressure on Iran," he said.

    "With regard to the nuclear allegations, their suspicions are baseless. It

    is like when they said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but nothing was found."

    Born in Saudi Arabia, Saad bin Ladin is believed to be 24

    years old and is one of the eldest sons of Usama bin Ladin and

    his first wife.

    Bin Ladin's children

    Bin Laden has

    more than two dozen children from several marriages.

    According to The Washington Post, Saad was at his

    father's side in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s when al-Qaida was

    formed, and was groomed to take a leadership role.

    The younger bin Ladin has only recently emerged as an

    important target for the CIA and FBI.  

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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