Bin Laden's sons arrested, says Pakistani minister
Staff and agencies
Friday March 7, 2003
Two sons of Osama bin Laden have been captured in Afghanistan after a US-led operation that left nine al-Qaida fighters dead, a Pakistani minister claimed this afternoon.
Sanaullah Zehri, home minister of the western province of Baluchistan, said the arrests took place in Rabat, in the far south-west of the country, where the Afghan, Pakistani and Iranian borders meet.
He told reporters that a joint US-Afghan unit was behind the operation.
But in Washington, US counter-terrorism officials strongly disputed the report. They said they had no information that would suggest any of the sons had been detained.
Mr Zehri named the two sons as Saad and Hamza bin Laden.
Saad, 23, who is on the US's most wanted terrorists list, was last month reported to have fled to Iran after the fall of al-Qaida's Afghan base in Tora Bora in December 2001. He has been named as a possible successor to his father.
US intelligence has claimed that several of Bin Laden's sons - he is thought to have at least 20 - are senior al-Qaida figures. Mohammed and Ahmed bin Laden are also believed to support their father's efforts.