Report: Bin Laden's son emerges as top Al Qaeda leader operating from Iran
Osama bin Laden’s third eldest son, Saad, has reportedly emerged recently as part of the upper echelon of the al Qaeda network, a small group of leaders that is managing the terrorist network from Iran, the Washington Post said, citing U.S., European and Arab officials.
In its Tuesday edition, the report said Saad bin Laden and other top al Qaeda activists were in contact with an al Qaeda cell in Riyadh in the days immediately prior to the May 12 suicide bombing in the Saudi Kingdom, which left 35 people dead, the paper said, citing intelligence sources.
The contacts have led them to conclude that the Riyadh attacks were planned in the Islamic Republic of Iran and ordered from there.
Like other al Qaeda leaders in Iran, the younger bin Laden, who is believed to be 24 years old, is protected by an elite Iranian security force loyal to the country's clerics and beyond the control of the central government, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials.
As a young boy, Saad bin Laden was at his father's side in Afghanistan in the 1980s when Osama bin Laden established the al Qaeda network and was groomed to take a leadership role in the network.
However, Saad has only recently emerged as an important target for the C.I.A., F.B.I. and other organizations trying to disrupt the Al Qaeda network.
It has only been since his arrival in Iran in the past year that he has assumed a more active role in directing al Qaeda, and that he has been identified as a senior leader, the Post added.
Meanwhile, experts believe that he also had direct involvement in coordinating a wave of bombings on May 16 that killed 45 people in Casablanca.
It should be noted that Iran has denied reports about the presence of Saad bin Laden on its soil. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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