Saad bin Laden

Sa'ad bin Osama bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Laden
(Arabic: سعد بن أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن)
Born 1979
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Died July 2009 (aged 2930)
Allegiance Al-Qaeda

War on Terror

Sa'ad bin Osama bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Laden (Arabic: سعد بن أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن; 1979 – July 2009),[1] 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.[2] He was killed in an American drone strike in 2009.[1]


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.[3] Iran stated that a number of al-Qaeda leaders and members were in their custody.[4][5]

Saad was believed to have been involved in the bombing of a Tunisian synagogue on 11 April 2002, which killed 19 people.[6] In March 2003, there were disputed claims of his capture by Pakistan,[7] 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.[8] Saif al-Adel and Bin Laden are believed to have ordered the Riyadh attacks from Iran, with apparent Iranian complicity.[9][10] In May 2003, then-State Department official Ryan Crocker provided information on the upcoming attack to Iranian officials, who apparently took no action.[11]

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.[12] 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.[3] 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.[3]


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."[13][14]

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.[15][16] 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,[17][18] a position that was originally bestowed to Saad.[12][18] Letters retrieved from the compound where bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan confirmed that Saad was killed.[18][19]

In September 2012, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri confirmed in a videotape that Saad was killed in the drone strike.[20]


  1. 1 2
  2. "Bin Laden Son Plays Key Role in Al Qaeda". The Washington Post. 20 July 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 "Bin Laden's son says Iran should free his siblings". USA Today. Associated Press. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  4. Saad bin Laden: The Key to Iranian-al-Qaeda Detente?
  5. Zagorin, Adam and Klein, Joe. "9/11 Commission Finds Ties Between al-Qaeda and Iran", Time Magazine, 16 July 2004. Retrieved 15 October 2006.
  6. "Bin Laden's son is rising in ranks of terrorism outfit". The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec)/Associated Press. 30 July 2002.
  7. Claim of bin Laden sons' capture disputed, San Francisco Chronicle
  8. "Osama bin Laden's Son Killed". The Weekly Standard. 23 July 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  9. Jones, Seth G. (2012-01-29). "Al Qaeda in Iran". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2014-09-29.
  10. Bergen, Peter (2013-03-10). "Strange bedfellows -- Iran and al Qaeda". CNN. Retrieved 2014-09-29.
  11. Filkins, Dexter (2013-09-30). "The Shadow Commander". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-09-29.
  12. 1 2 Greg Miller (17 January 2009). "Osama bin Laden's son may be in Pakistan too". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  13. Mary Louise Kelly (22 July 2009). "Bin Laden Son Reported Killed in Pakistan,". National Public Radio. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  14. "Osama's son may have been killed in Pak: Report". The Hindu. 23 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  15. "Taliban dismisses U.S. claims about death of Osama's son". The Hindu. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  16. "Did the 'crown prince of terror' escape the bin Laden raid?". The Week. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  17. David Gardner (14 May 2011). "What next for Brand Bin Laden?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  18. 1 2 3 Christina Lamb (7 May 2012). "Iran double-crossed Osama bin Laden". The Australian. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  19. Jason Burke (3 May 2012). "Being Bin Laden: al-Qaida leader's banal jihad business revealed". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2012.

See also

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