Saad bin Laden
|Sa'ad bin Osama bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Laden |
(Arabic: سعد بن أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن)
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
July 2009 (aged 29–30)|
Sa'ad bin Osama bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Laden (Arabic: سعد بن أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن; 1979 – July 2009), better known as Saad bin Laden, was one of Osama bin Laden's sons. He continued in his father's footsteps by occupying a position within Al-Qaeda, and was being groomed to be his heir apparent. He was killed in an American drone strike in 2009.
He was believed to be married to a woman from Yemen. After 9/11, Saad fled to Iran and was later detained and placed under house arrest by Iranian authorities. Iran stated that a number of al-Qaeda leaders and members were in their custody.
Saad was believed to have been involved in the bombing of a Tunisian synagogue on 11 April 2002, which killed 19 people. In March 2003, there were disputed claims of his capture by Pakistan, though these proved false, and he was implicated in the 12 May 2003 suicide bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the Morocco bombing four days later. Saif al-Adel and Bin Laden are believed to have ordered the Riyadh attacks from Iran, with apparent Iranian complicity. In May 2003, then-State Department official Ryan Crocker provided information on the upcoming attack to Iranian officials, who apparently took no action.
In January 2009, however, U.S. Intelligence officials confirmed that Saad was no longer being held in Iranian custody and was likely hiding in Pakistan. Letters exchanged between Saad and his brother Khalid bin Laden revealed that he fled from Iranian custody around this time and escaped to Pakistan, while many of his relatives were still detained. The report of his escape was also confirmed by his younger sister Eman bin Laden, who also managed to escape from Iranian custody and flee to Saudi Arabia.
On 22 July 2009, National Public Radio reported that U.S. officials believe Saad bin Laden was killed by a CIA-administered unmanned aerial vehicle strike in Pakistan. A senior U.S. counterterrorism official said U.S. intelligence agencies are "80 to 85 percent" certain that Saad bin Laden was killed in a missile strike "sometime this year."
On 24 July 2009, The Hindu reported that senior Taliban spokesmen claimed Saad bin Laden was not killed, or even hurt, during the missile attack. No evidence, however, surfaced to prove that Saad was still alive, and it was later reported that Osama bin Laden, shortly before his death during a Navy Seals raid in 2011, was grooming his younger son Hamza bin Laden to be his heir apparent, a position that was originally bestowed to Saad. Letters retrieved from the compound where bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan confirmed that Saad was killed.
In September 2012, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri confirmed in a videotape that Saad was killed in the drone strike.
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