Pakistan Officials Say Khalid bin Laden , Not Hamza, Killed in Strike
Finally, Pakistani officials disclose which son of Osama bin Laden was killed by commandos in the raid on the compound in Abbottabad. They say it was Khalid bin Laden.
[W]ell-informed sources in the Pakistani security establishment claim that Osama’s dead son was not Hamza bin Laden but Khalid bin Laden. Besides Osama, Hamza bin Laden is also wanted by the United States for his involvement in terrorist activities directed against the US-led Allied Forces in Afghanistan.
This matches information first released by the U.S., but curiously changed in the transcript of the briefing and then changed back again. [More...]
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan told reporters Monday that bin Laden's son Khalid was killed in the raid. When the White House released a transcript of Brennan's briefing, it substituted the name of a different son, Hamza. The White House said that was a transcription error.
Here's the May 4 transcript of Carney discussing the error in the earlier transcript.
Even today, some media report it was Hamza while others say it was Khalid. They are only two years apart (Khalid was born in 1989 and Hamza in 1991) but they look very different. Photos of Hamza when he was younger are here and here.
I wrote a long post with pictures about this yesterday, with my speculation that the son who was killed was Khalid. I also mentioned a third possibility, Saad bin Laden, who was reportedly killed by a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan in 2009, but the U.S. couldn't confirm it. Today's article, linked above says:
However, the reports of [Saad's] death were instantly refuted by a Taliban spokesman who claimed that Saad bin Laden was not killed or even hurt during the missile attack.
But the family, through another bin Laden son named Omar, and his British wife, Mrs. Zaina al-Sabah Bin Laden, have said no one in the family has heard from Saad since the drone attack.
Interestingly, today's news article confirming it was Khalid who was killed says commandos took Khalid's body away. Which would mean he couldn't be in one of the grisly death photos taken by Pakistani security forces when they arrived an hour later. And that would leave an unidentified male who was killed (the "courier", his "brother", and Mr. X.)
The U.S. insists it only removed Osama bin Laden's body and left his dead son at the scene. If so, then Khalid could be the unidentified third male in the grisly photos.
Khalid wrote an angry letter in 2010, claiming Iran had mistreated the bin Laden family members who had gone there after 9/11 and had been kept in seclusion under virtual house arrest ever since. (Hamza, Saad, a daughter Iman and Bin Laden's youngest son at the time, Bakr, all got out.) Another son, Omar, living in Qatar, disputed Khalid's claims. (More on that in this 2010 news article and in a Times of London article dated 12/23/2009.)
Today's article, linked above, says:
It is now believed that Khalid bin Laden was with his father in Abbottabad when the letter was written and posted on March 15, 2010, on the Internet by the Global Islamic Media Front, which is linked to al-Qaeda.
The U.S. believes Hamza and Saad have been involved in terror activities.
In a 2005 videotape, titled “The Mujahideen of Waziristan”, Hamza was shown participating in an al-Qaeda assault against the Pakistani security forces in South Waziristan. In September 2007, it was reported that he was again in the tribal belt that encompasses the Pak-Afghan border region, playing a major role with al-Qaeda forces.
....Saad bin Laden has already been accused by the US of involvement in the bombing of a Tunisian synagogue on April 11, 2002, which killed 19 people. The following year.... he was implicated in the May 12, 2003, suicide bombing in Riyadh and the Morocco bombing four days later on May 17, 2003.
A photo of Saad is here.
So, is there a possibility that two of Osama's sons, Khalid and Hamza (or Khalid and Saad, albeit less likely) were at the compound during the raid? If so, did the commandos take one with them? And if they did, was it the one who lived or the one who died?
Given that the CIA seems to be the lead agency behind constructing the raid (although the Seals carried out the action part), wouldn't they want to interrogate Osama's son if they captured him alive and gather as much intelligence from his as possible? Where would they have taken him? To Guantanamo, Bagram, or a secret overseas facility? Obviously, the CIA wouldn't want to disclose they had one of bin Laden's sons, but the survivors' stories are going to come out at some point (they won't be held indefinitely by the Pakistanis) and if their accounts differ from official U.S. accounts, our credibility will once again be at issue.
The U.S. should come out and say who was present at the compound, who was killed and who they left at the compound for the Pakistanis to deal with. The Pakistanis should identify who they found alive at the compound and identify those whose bodies were recovered. The confusion among American media outlets about which son was killed, how many wives and children were there, and how many people were killed, and the scant references to the deceased son's identity in both U.S. and foreign media, is just too odd.
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