Iran is holding Saif al-Adel, the third-ranking member of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, but has refused to hand him over to the United States, according to the New York Times.
In its Saturday edition, the paper reported that Iran would only surrender al-Qaeda members in its custody in exchange for members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq, many of whom are in US-supervised camps in Iraq.
A US official approached Tehran through a third party about taking custody of Adel and other al-Qaeda members but "did not receive a positive response," the Times quoted a US official as saying.
Among those held in Iran, according to US and Mid-East officials, are al-Qaeda's Kuwaiti-born spokesman Sulaiman Abu Gaith; bin Laden's Saudi-born son, Saad; and Abu Masab al-Zarwaqi of Jordan, a close aide to bin Laden.
"We are confident that Iran is holding these people," a US official said. (Albawaba.com)
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