Osama bin Laden`s `20-strong family stranded in Iran`: Son

Members were detained in a complex in Tehran after fleeing from Afghanistan.

Dubai: A son of Osama bin Laden said on Sunday on Al-Arabiya television that 20 members of the al Qaeda chief`s family are stranded in Iran as Tehran is refusing to discuss their fate with Saudi Arabia.

"I think the time has come for my family members to leave Iran but their lack of identification papers and passports made us in need of another third-party country willing to receive them after Iran refused to hand them over to Saudi Arabia," said Omar bin Laden, the fourth son of the Saudi-born head of the global terror network.

"Othman (his brother held in Tehran) called me by phone four days ago and asked me to find a country to mediate their release and accept to receive them," he added according to excerpts of an interview posted on Al-Arabiya`s website.

The Dubai-based Arabic news channel said that there are about 20 members of Osama bin Laden`s family living in Iran.

They are thought to reside in a complex in Tehran where they were detained after fleeing from Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States claimed by al Qaeda.

Among them are one of bin Laden`s wives identified as Khairya Saber, his sons Saad, 30, Othman, 27, Mohammed, 25, and Hamza, 19, as well as his daughter Fatima, 24, plus their spouses and children, the report said.

Omar bin Laden told Al-Arabiya that Washington "has no objections about receiving them" in the United States.

"None of my brothers has been charged on behalf of any party, American or otherwise," he said, adding that "the Americans have offered their help" to get them out of the Islamic republic.

In March, Omar bin Laden called on countries such as Qatar or the United Arab Emirates to host the family detained in Iran, which has already released one of his sisters and one of his brothers to Syria.

PTI

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