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Oussama Ben Laden est mort / Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is dead

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                        • May 10, 2011 -- One of Osama bin Laden's sons may have gone missing in the midst of the Navy SEAL raid that took the life of the al Qaeda leader more than a week ago, Pakistani security officials told ABC News today. The officials said bin Laden's three wives, who are all in Pakistani custody, said that one of bin Laden's sons has not been seen since the raid. The son was not identified, but Pakistani investigators agreed that it appeared someone was missing from the sprawling compound, the officials said. Later, however, one U.S. official said there was no evidence anyone was missing from the compound and Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN that in a recent briefing with the CIA there was no mention of a missing son.

                          U.S. officials said that one of bin Laden's sons, Khalid, was killed in the raid. It is not known if another son, Hamza, was in the compound at the time of the raid, though his mother is reportedly one of the wives in custody. The U.S. has previously denied the SEALs took anyone from the compound other than bin Laden's body. The U.S. initially faced resistance from Pakistani authorities when investigators asked for access to bin Laden's widows, but a U.S. official said Monday Pakistani official promised to make the meeting happen sometime soon. One senior Pakistani security official told ABC News there is still no timeframe for that meeting, however.

                          Bin Laden, who was married five times, is survived by at least 18 children. None of the sons, however, are in line to succeed their father for leadership of al Qaeda. "Unlike a lot of Arab governments that are dynastic," said former White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke, now an ABC News consultant, "al Qaeda has not been and his sons have never played a real operational role of any significance. They did not appear to be groomed for leadership roles in al Qaeda."

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                            • May 12, 2011 -- The family of Osama bin Laden's youngest wife have broken their silence to describe how the 29-year-old Yemeni, currently in the custody of security services in Pakistan, refused the chance to leave her husband, saying instead she was determined be "martyred" alongside him. The relatives of Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, who became the al-Qaida leader's fifth wife in late 1999, spoke of a "sincere" husband – though one who apparently exaggerated tales of his own bravado for the sake of his in-laws. Sadah, who Pakistani officials say was wounded in the calf during the operation that killed her husband, was among at least a dozen women and children detained by Pakistani security officials after the raid on the Abbottabad compound where Bin Laden had been living for several years. It is believed the American special forces team that carried out the operation was forced to abandon plans to evacuate survivors after losing of one of their four helicopters because of a technical problem. Among those detained are two other women who have also been identified as wives of Bin Laden by Pakistani officials. However, this is unconfirmed. If true both would be Saudi nationals. The children appear to be a mixture of Bin Laden's own and his grandchildren. They include Sadah's daughter, Safiya, who was born shortly before the 9/11 attacks. Pakistani officials have repeated that all those detained will be repatriated to their countries of origin.

                              Sadah's family spoke to a reporter from the Associated Press news agency in their two-storey traditional home in Ibb, an agricultural town in the mountains about 100 miles south of the Yemeni capital, Sana'a. They said they saw Sadah, who was 17 when she was married, only once after her wedding, in 2000. Communication was largely limited to messages delivered by couriers. The family said Sadah was a simple but determined and "courageous" young woman who was religiously conservative but not fundamentalist and who may have seen marriage with Bin Laden, a hero for some in the Islamic world and the son of a major construction magnate, as a means of social mobility. Sadah, whose father is a minor civil servant, always told her friends and family that she wanted to "go down in history", according to her cousin Waleed Hashem Abdel-Fatah al-Sadah. A cleric based in Kabul called Rasheed Mohammed Saeed, who had radical Islamist contacts, relayed the demand for marriage with Bin Laden. Sadah's uncle Hashem recalled telling her he knew Bin Laden was from a "devout and respectable family" in Saudi Arabia, though he was unaware that the militant leader "was wanted by the Americans" for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. "The choice is yours," the uncle said he told her. "It's your future." The answer was unequivocal: "This is destiny from God, and I accept it."

                              Weeks after the proposal, a dowry of $5,000 was wired by Bin Laden. After two wedding parties, including one in a Sana'a hotel, Sadah left Yemen. Accompanied by the intermediary, she travelled via Dubai and Pakistan to meet her bridegroom for the first time. When the family learned through a courier that she had given birth to a daughter, a group of relatives travelled via Pakistan to Afghanistan, where they spent a month. On the final day of the visit, a cousin recalled Bin Laden telling the young mother that she could stay with him in Afghanistan or return home with her family. "I want to be martyred with you and I won't leave as long as you're alive," he recalled her saying. When Bin Laden told her he was "subject at any moment to death", Sadah told him curtly: "I've made my decision." The woman's cousin recalled her describing Bin Laden as a "noble" man who treated her well. "'It's true that my life is one of moving between caves in Afghanistan, but despite the bitterness of this life ... I'm comfortable with Osama," she told her father.

                              Sadah's uncle said Bin Laden complained about Arab leaders and said he had been the focus of several "assassination" attempts by Arab and U.S. intelligence services. The al-Qaida leader appears to have exaggerated his anecdotes for the benefit of his in-laws, telling them that a mosque in which he was delivering a sermon was struck by a cruise missile. "I was injured ... and a lot of people were killed," Bin Laden reportedly said. "But I was spared from death because God wished it." There is no other record of such an incident. When in August 1998 the U.S. fired cruise missiles at four militant training camps in Afghanistan in retaliation for the bombings of American embassies in east Africa, Bin Laden was many miles away. The cousin said Bin Laden told the family during their visit to Afghanistan "of a big event that will occur in the world". Later, when the cousin and Sadah's father heard the news of the 9/11 attacks, the father had now doubt who was behind them. "Osama bin Laden did it," he said.

                              For the moment, the future of Sadah and the other women in Pakistani custody is unclear. American intelligence services are keen to interview those detained in the raid in the belief that they could provide crucial intelligence about the workings of al-Qaida, the recent activities of Bin Laden and his personal life, and whether they had received support from Pakistani authorities. "It is fairly unlikely that Bin Laden would be sharing operational details with his wives. That isn't his way or his culture. But there are other things they should know about, such as the whereabouts of other relatives," one recently retired U.S. intelligence official told the Guardian. One key topic, the former official said, would be the exact conditions of the large numbers of Bin Laden's close family who have been detained in Iran since they fled Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the fall of the Taliban regime.

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                              • May 12, 2011 -- Osama bin Laden was a prolific email writer who built a painstaking system that kept him one step ahead of the U.S. government's best eavesdroppers despite having no Internet access in his hideout. His methods, described in new detail to The Associated Press by a counterterrorism official and a second person briefed on the U.S. investigation, served him well for years and frustrated Western efforts to trace him through cyberspace. The arrangement allowed bin Laden to stay in touch worldwide without leaving any digital fingerprints behind. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive intelligence analysis.

                                Bin Laden's system was built on discipline and trust. But it also left behind an extensive archive of emailexchanges for the U.S. to scour. The trove of electronic records pulled out of his compound after he was killed last week is revealing thousands of messages and potentially hundreds of email addresses, the AP has learned. Holed up in his walled compound in northeast Pakistan with no phone or Internet capabilities, bin Laden would type a message on his computer without an Internet connection, then save it using a thumb-sized flash drive. He then passed the flash drive to a trusted courier, who would head for a distant Internet cafe. At that location, the courier would plug the memory drive into a computer, copy bin Laden's message into an email and send it. Reversing the process, the courier would copy any incoming email to the flash drive and return to the compound, where bin Laden would read his messages offline. It was a slow, toilsome process. And it was so meticulous that even veteran intelligence officials have marveled at bin Laden's ability to maintain it for so long.

                                The U.S. always suspected bin Laden was communicating through couriers but did not anticipate the breadth of his communications as revealed by the materials he left behind. A Navy SEALs assault team hauled away roughly 100 flash memory drives after they killed bin Laden, and officials said they appear to archive the back-and-forth communication between bin Laden and his associates around the world. Al-Qaida operatives are known to change email addresses, so it is unclear how many are still active sincebin Laden's death. But the long list of electronic addresses and phone numbers in the emails is expected to touch off a flurry of national security letters and subpoenas to Internet service providers. The Justice Department is already coming off a year in which it significantly increased the number of national security letters, which allow the FBI to quickly demand information from companies and others without asking a judge to formally issue a subpoena. Officials gave no indication that bin Laden was communicating with anyone inside the U.S., but terrorists have historically used U.S.-based Internet providers or free Internet-based email services.

                                The cache of electronic documents is so enormous that the government has enlisted Arabic speakers from around the intelligence community to pore over it. Officials have said the records revealed no new terror plot but showed bin Laden remained involved in al-Qaida's operations long after the U.S. had assumed he had passed control to his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. The files seized from bin Laden's compound not only have the potential to help the U.S. find other al-Qaida figures, they may also force terrorists to change their routines. That could make them more vulnerable to making mistakes and being discovered.

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