Osama bin Laden’s son also reported killed during raid in Pakistan

The US raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is also thought to have resulted in the death of his son, US officials said during a White House press briefing today.

Khalid bin Laden, one of Osama’s younger sons, was reported to be among those killed yesterday during the daring raid by US Navy SEALs and CIA operatives on a fortified mansion in an upscale area of Abbottabad in Pakistan. Osama’s wife, Amal al Ahmed Sadah, was wounded during the raid. Also, two of bin Laden’s couriers, who have not been named, are also reported to have been killed during the raid.

Khalid bin Laden has stayed out of the limelight, unlike some of his other brothers who have taken a leadership role in al Qaeda. In January 2010, Khalid released a letter accusing Iran of imprisoning more than 30 of his family members. Khalid claimed they were “beaten and repressed.” Iran released bin Laden’s family in the summer of 2010.

There has been confusion over whether Khalid, or his younger brother Hamza, was killed in the raid. White House Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan initially reported, on May 2, that Hamza was killed, but this was later determined to be “a clerical error” and Khalid was named as the dead son.

It is unclear if Hamza was at the house, and if he was, what became of him. The Wall Street Journal reports that a Pakistani intelligence official said bin Laden’s 12-year-old daughter told them that the Americans took two people when they left, including bin Laden. Similarly, according to Dawn, the US team took away bin Laden’s body and another person, “possibly one of his sons.” Another news source, al Arabiya, states that the US team “took two bodies with them in the military chopper; one is said to be Bin Laden’s and the other his son’s.”

Amal al Ahmed Sadah is Osama’s fourth wife. They were married in the late 1990s in Afghanistan when she was 17 years old. Sadah is from Yemen, and she is thought to have gone back to her home country sometime after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, according to The New Yorker. It is unclear when Sadah returned to South Asia to be at Osama’s side.

Sadah was reported to have been wounded during the raid, a White House official said. Brennan had initially claimed she was killed while “she was being used as a shield,” but the White House official later said that account was inaccurate. Another woman apparently was used as a human shield during the operation.

The raid that killed Osama and Khalid took place just 30 miles north of Islamabad at a heavily fortified compound that was locally known as the “Waziristan Mansion,” according to the BBC, as it was owned by Pashtun tribesmen from the Waziristan tribal agencies. Many of the top al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are based in North and South Waziristan.

Unnamed intelligence officials told Gulf News that Osama’s $1 million compound may have served as a safe house for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. The compound is said to be owned by “Afghan nationals” and “is located just 800 metres away from the Pakistan Military Academy and some former senior military officials live nearby.”

Osama’s compound is “eight times the size of any other structure in the neighborhood,” a senior US intelligence official said last night at a White House briefing.

“The physical security measures of the compound are extraordinary,” the official continued. “It has 12- to 18-foot walls topped with barbed wire. Internal wall sections — internal walls sectioned off different portions of the compound to provide extra privacy. Access to the compound is restricted by two security gates, and the residents of the compound burn their trash, unlike their neighbors, who put the trash out for collection. ”

For more information on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and the likelihood that Pakistani military and intelligence officials aided in sheltering the al Qaeda leader, see LWJ report, Al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden confirmed killed by US forces in Pakistan, and Threat Matrix report, Pakistani complicity in sheltering Osama bin Laden is evident.

Corrections: The White House initially reported Hamza, and not Khalid, was killed during the raid; it was later determined that Khalid was killed. Amal al Ahmed Sadah, Osama bin Laden’s wife, was wounded, and not killed as initially reported. This article has been updated to reflect the changes.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • PW says:

    Great. I hope they are swimming with the fishes as well.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    DevGru. They changed their name from SEAL Team 6 almost 2 decades ago…

  • gandalf says:

    Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, born in 1983 (1985?) at Ibb, SW Yemen, married UBL in 2000, in Kandahar. They have a daughter Safiyah (2001) and two sons Laden (2002) and? (2003?).

    She was only wounded (shot in the calf) during the raid.

  • JRP says:

    Regardless of what one may think of the President’s domestic politics, this was his “Profiles in Courage” moment and he wound up making one of U.S. Presidential History’s guttsiest and most successful decisions. He certainly has proven his total patriotism and commitment to the U.S. ’cause I’m sure right now the Secret Service is very much concerned about White House and Presidential Security following the assaults on the residences of not only Bin Laden, but the Libyan leader as well.
    The Long War Journal and its Comment Posters are also deserving of recognition for their role in bringing about the demise of Bin Laden. Much of America had grown apathetic about the WoT due to the length of time that was passing and the recession. The Long War Journal and those who post on it knew that many politically important and militarily important people in the U.S. Gov’t avidly read it. LWJ and its posters focused pressure on the Gov’t to keep up a hunt that paid off handsomely this weekend.
    Finally, Pakistan can redeem itself by simply turning over the rest of the AQ HVTs, like Zawahiri. Once that happens, the U.S. can pack up and exit Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. What the Taliban does there is of no U.S. concern ’cause, unlike AQ, the Taliban is a national vice international movement and has no interest in bringing down the U.S.

  • James says:

    Bill, I say hats off to Obama for allowing our guys to execute this. However, I think he may have shot himself in the foot for ordering a sea burial.
    This is going to be like “cannon fodder” for the conspiracy kook theorists out there (like the birth certificate issue, but most likely even worse).
    In HVT’s, why not have next of kin (or as close as it can get) positively identify the corpse and then let them decide how to dispose of the remains? Who might you say in the case of OBL could qualify? Well, for starters, who provided the DNA sample would be a good place to begin.
    How did they dispose of Zarqawi’s remains I wonder.
    Now, some may say, “what if no one came forward to identify and claim the remains.” If no one came forward, it would have to remain at the morgue until someone did.
    You watch. I predict with certainty that this will put the conspiracy kooks out there like being on steroiids (the fact that they disposed of bin laden’s body via sea burial).
    Also, it is my understanding that bin laden is considered to be heretic to Islam by most if not all moderate Muslims.

  • Nic says:

    Killing OBL made my day!! Better yet, getting him should make getting the #2 and #3 much easier because we can now trust our techniques.
    As for Pakistan, OBL was just a little over 8 lengths of a foot ball field away from Pakistan’s “West Point”. The Paks had to know he was there. For those wishing to show their displeasure with the government of Pakistan, might I suggest the following: Boycott all goods made in Pakistan. Start with textiles. SOURCE:
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html “Textiles account for most of Pakistan’s export earnings ”
    Check the label of any textile that you purchase. If the textile has no permanent label attached to it, check the container or the manufacturer’s temporary label, the printed material that has the bar code. If the item or the packaging says “Made in Pakistan” then leave it on the shelf. Remember, money talks.

  • stevied4 says:

    at JRP what makes you think that is some how we seperate the two the parties that the U.S. would be safe ? A little history lesson wasn’t the Taliban and A.Q.working together prior to 9-11 ?

  • Obama succeeded on his fight against terrorism though many lives has been sacrifice due to bloodshed that took almost years . Now that Osama Binladen is Cold Dead Meat I hope the terrorism will ends on that. Too many died including innocent children. Lets unite to fight and stop any terrorism acts. http://www.facebook.com/osamaisdeadonmayday

  • gwb says:

    I just watched the Pak ambassador on CNN actually get grilled by Wolf Blitzer, and boy did he look and sound rediculous. I swear they think all Americans are stupid, and really aren’t paying attention. He kept up the deny, deny, deny even in the face of facts. What a joke these PAK pols are.

  • Conor says:

    The name is no longer DEVGRU either, the new name is classified.

  • Lucy says:

    I wonder why these women married him? Being in polygamy marriage while only getting limited support, it is like being single mothers from very beginning.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I updated the article to reflect that Amal Ahmed al Sadah was wounded and not killed, and noted the correction.

  • Alex says:

    This article has been linked to in Northwest Business Report: http://www.nwbusinessreport.com/2011/05/follow-up-on-obl-raid/

  • Lorenz Gude says:

    I can’t share other commenter’s optimism that this ‘long war’ is nearly over and that a species of end game has been reached as a consequence of Osama’s demise. Nonetheless, Osama’s death at the hands of US troops brings home to jihadis everywhere that Allah may not always smile on their religious ideology. Still, it is worth noting that the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies could be headed for victory by default if we abandon the field to them. Furthermore, Iran is gaining power and so is the Muslim Brotherhood – the later, lest we forget, being the founding organization of militant Islamism. Despite the helicopter crash reminiscent of the botched raid in Iran during the Carter administration this action was brilliantly executed. It required excellence and commitment at all levels from the President on down to succeed. Well done Mr. President! Well Done America! Yet, while symbolism is important and this is a critical symbolic moment – it should not be confused with final victory.

  • Charu says:

    I hope that a thorough autopsy was conducted before his body was fed to the fishes. For example, did he require frequent dialysis as rumored? Ten years is too long a time to go without regular medical or dental care; so who provided it? And how is it possible that no practitioner noticed that their patient happened to resemble the world’s most wanted terrorist? If a case can be made showing Pakistani complicity, will this be squelched in order to preserve the fiction that Pakistan is an ally? There has to be serious consequences to treachery of this sort. What a pity that the Pakistanis stood down and didn’t scramble their fighter planes during the operation; their entire airforce might have been obliterated in an instance.

  • exhelodrvr says:

    Any ideas how many of the 22 were killed, and how many captured, and where the captured are now?

  • Guerra says:

    Per Drudge, they’re now saying it was Hamza and not Khalid.

  • Charles says:

    The seal team left OBL’s compound with a treasure trove of info. There’s another approach to this besides pure intel. That is loyalty. If the pledge of loyalty the various taliban made is to the man and not to the cause — then the taliban might be convinced to give over the rest of the AQ in their midst–since their pledge is now moot. The intel would provide all the info the US would need to make an offer to the taliban they could not refuse.
    Of course they might have pledged loyalty to the cause. But I don’t think that’s the way these people work.
    Anyone know how Taliban loyalty pledges work. are they to AQ or OBL?

  • AMac says:

    Here are links to some articles that may be of interest.
    In the New Yorker, Steve Coll’s essay Notes on the Death of Osama Bin Laden, May 2. Coll’s initial observations. Good quote — “Pakistan

  • AMac says:

    Here are a few questions that seem unresolved to me.
    * Where was the raid staged from? Where did the helos go upon leaving Abbottabad? There’s been mention of two UH-60 Blackhawks (HH60 Pave Hawk?) and a Chinook. The nearest part of Afghanistan is about 220 km from Abbottabad. Could these helos have gotten that far without refueling?
    * In interviews, Obama advisor John Brennan has said that Pakistan scrambled jets when they became aware that a gunfight was going on in Abbottabad. Then what happened? What were the U.S. plans for dealing with possibly hostile PAF fighters engaging the helicopters?
    * What were the compound’s defenses against air assault? Who manned them, AQ or the Pakistani armed forces/ISI? The US must have been confident that such defenses wouldn’t pose a problem. On what basis?
    * Did an autopsy confirm that bin Laden’s kidneys have been shut down for years, as has been claimed?
    * Was a functioning kidney dialysis machine present inside the compound? If not, if bin Laden needed regular dialysis treatments, he must have gotten them at another location. Where?

  • AMac says:

    A note on the OBL kidney disease issue, published by MassDevice (a medical-devices trade paper/website).
    Did bin Laden have kidney disease?, May 2.
    — begin fair-use excerpt —
    Although bin Laden denied the infirmity, in 2002 Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said bin Laden had kidney disease and had two dialysis systems shipped to Afghanistan when he lived there.
    There’s no word yet on whether dialysis equipment was found at the compound, but if bin Laden indeed suffered from renal failure he would have required it to survive… [The] treatments take hours, and must be performed several times weekly…
    How bin Laden managed to arrange for such sophisticated medical care for close to a decade will be a subject of scrutiny as the story of his life and death unspools.
    — end fair-use excerpt —

  • Peter says:

    Dear Sir,
    I whole heartedly congratulate President Obama and his team which of course includes the brilliant Navy Seals who all made it possible.
    I am glad the devil is dispatched to his rightful place where he hopes to be enjoyed by 72 virgin fish!
    I do not agree with the earlier commentators that this is the beginning of a new era in the middle East. We cannot wash our hands of middle east and hope for the best. This hands off attitude by several past administrations including Democrat and Republican that lead to this mess for which a lot of our younger generation are paying for !
    As they say in order for the evil to succeed ,all it takes is for some good men to keep quiet.
    We should fight the evil wherever we see it!
    We should keep an eye on Taliban, AlQuida and all the terrorist ideology who want to destroy democracy and replace it with theocracy by establishing a global caliphat.
    God bless America!God bless Democracy

  • Bruno says:

    “The name is no longer DEVGRU either, the new name is classified”
    I hear their latest classified name is either TUFKAST6, or an unpronounceable eagle/anchor/trident symbol

  • naresh c. says:

    It appears that US took Osama’s son alive.
    Something does not appear right. The US didn’t release the photo. Is it possible that US captured Bin Laden alive instead of killing him? The commandos may have staged a kill in front of the family. If that is the case, then US may have huge leverage over Pakistan. I suspect that ISI is trying to assess what US has on it.
    There is no way to independently verify what US or Pakistan is saying. I don’t think that US will risk releasing any fake photo because image processing technology will give it away. If US has Osama in custody, it would have resulted in kidnappings and terror attacks. Possibly, the US is doing the right thing by declaring him dead. Again, I am just weaving a conspiracy theory here. But the way US government is acting, something is fishy.

  • I agree with the killing of Bin Laden by the USA.
    However, I do have this sad feeling about the 19 year old being killed. I have a 19 year old grandson and I understand allegiance to family.

  • kp says:

    “Any ideas how many of the 22 were killed, and how many captured, and where the captured are now?”

    Five killed: UBL, HBL, both Khan couriers, one female i.e. all adult males present and one female.

    UBL, HBL bodies were taken for later ID and burial.

    All the others, with apparently 3 wives and 8 children of UBL plus family of the Khan’s, were left behind.

    I’m pretty sure we didn’t leave with anyone alive. Extracting the family then repatriating them after interrogation would have been an intel win but might have been seen to infuriate patriarchal muslims. Perhaps if that one chopper didn’t crash?

    CS Monitor is reporting 79 people and a dog took part in the raid (which seems like a lot even for four choppers … 20 per chopper). UBL was shot from the back which explains the reluctance to show the photos. The face wound is an exit wound not an entrance wound.



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