Rome: Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden`s sister once lived in the Lazio region surrounding Rome, where she was nicknamed "the princess", said a former mayor.
Osama bin Laden was shot dead May 2 by US commandos who stormed his hideout deep inside Pakistan.
"She was known in the town as the princess," Natale Cerri, a former mayor of the Ciociaria town of Atina, told reporters.
Salha bin Laden now lives in Montecarlo with her husband Paolo Piccirillo, who was originally from Atina but emigrated to the US in the 1950s.
"I remember her as a beautiful Arab woman who spent extended periods in Atina with her husband during the summer months," Cerri said.
"The last time we saw them was in Atina in 1999. After `9/11` no one saw them again and we only then found out that she was one of bin Laden`s sisters," said Cerri.
"We were stunned," he said.
The Ciociaria region, southeast of Rome, was the setting for Italian novelist Alberto Moravia`s gritty World War II tale "La Ciociara" which Vittorio De Sica turned into a movie, titled "Two Women" in English, that earned Sofia Loren a best actress Oscar in 1962. It was the first time an acting Oscar had been awarded for a non-English-speaking performance.