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Entries in Wives (9)

Thursday
Apr262012

Osama Bin Laden Wives Heading Out of Pakistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Osama bin Laden's three wives are once again on their way to Saudi Arabia after serving a short sentence under house arrest in Pakistan for illegally entering the country.

The wives, along with a gaggle of children, were scheduled to leave last week but their departure was delayed when it was discovered one of the travelers -- reportedly the brother of bin Laden's youngest wife -- did not have a passport.

The three women -- two Saudis and one Yemeni -- had been held in Pakistan since the al Qaeda leader was killed in early May in a nighttime raid by U.S. Navy SEALs. Their departure comes just days before the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death, a day Western security officials are watching closely for hints of retaliatory attacks.

After the SEAL raid, American officials said they were allowed to speak to the wives once, but the oldest of the three was so combative that nothing at all came from the interrogation. Months later the wives were convicted by a Pakistani court of coming into the country illegally and served a brief detention sentence.

However, in the course of the illegal entry case against bin Laden's wives, investigators revealed new details about the al Qaeda leader's life in the shadows before his demise.

According to a police report obtained by ABC News, bin Laden's youngest wife, Amal Ahmad Abdul Fatah, told investigators that for a majority of the near-decade between the 9/11 attacks and bin Laden's death, he did not live deep in rugged caves in the Afghan border region as was the popular belief but stayed in various houses in major Pakistani cities. While he was hiding, bin Laden managed to father four children -- at least two of whom were born in government hospitals in Pakistan.

A video obtained exclusively by ABC News showing the inside of Bin Laden's last home, a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, revealed that bin Laden and his wives appeared to have lived on the top two floors of the three story house, but bin Laden could separate himself as much as he wished. The house was built to sustain multiple families independent of each other.

Still, Phil Mudd, one of the men who hunted bin Laden with the CIA, said that bin Laden's last years confined in his walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, with multiple wives and children most likely were not stress-free.

"I can only begin to imagine that that looked like American reality TV," said Mudd, "that he was living in some version of the Kardashians in Abbottabad."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec092011

Osama Bin Laden's Wives to Go Free

AFP/Getty Images(ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan) -- Three of Osama bin Laden's wives, once thought to know the family secrets of the world's most wanted fugitive, are soon expected to leave Pakistan after seven months in custody, according to Pakistani officials.

The three women -- two Saudis and one Yemeni -- were picked up by security officials early on the morning of May 2 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, just minutes after U.S. Navy SEALs killed the al Qaeda leader in the compound where U.S. officials believe he had been living for six years.

The three wives have been held by Pakistan's intelligence service ever since, but it's not clear they ever knew enough to shed light on bin Laden's travels after 2001 and how he came to be living in Abbottabad, Pakistan's equivalent of West Point.

United States officials said they were allowed to speak to the wives once, and that the oldest of the three was so combative that nothing at all came from the interrogation. Pakistani officials have not said how much, if anything, they learned from the women, who were debriefed by both Pakistani intelligence officials and a commission investigating bin Laden's death.

In the months after the raid, both Pakistani and U.S. officials described the wives as uncooperative and it's not clear that they knew much about bin Laden's work, especially in Abbottabad.

A video obtained exclusively by ABC News showing the inside of Bin Laden's compound revealed that bin Laden and his wives appeared to have lived on the top two floors of the three story house, but bin Laden could separate himself as much as he wished. The house was built to sustain multiple families independent of each other.

Each bedroom had an attached kitchen and bathroom -- meaning his wives might have seen each other only rarely -- and two tin doors could be closed to prevent those on the ground floor from walking upstairs. Bin Laden was married five times, but split from two of them. Bin Laden's first wife, a Syrian, left him shortly before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and his fourth wife divorced him, according to "The Looming Tower" by Lawrence Wright.

A Pakistani intelligence official told ABC News Friday that the remaining wives had been cleared to leave Pakistan one month ago. Saudi Arabia recently restored citizenship to wives Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar, according to the Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat. Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, from Yemen, will likely go to Qatar, according to Britain's The Guardian, which first reported the departures.

Two Western officials said they were not surprised by the announcement, but cautioned that the wives' repatriation abroad might not happen quickly. U.S. officials have been generally dismissive of the wives' relevance to investigations into bin Laden since failing to get information out of them.

In the dramatic moments after the Navy SEALs left the Abbottabad compound, it was the wives who first identified bin Laden as among the dead.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun232011

Osama Bin Laden's Youngest Wife Going Back to Yemen

AFP/Getty Images(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) -- One of Osama bin Laden's wives who was wounded in the U.S. Special Forces raid that killed the al Qaeda leader is due to soon return to her native Yemen.

According to a report in the Dubai-based newspaper Gulf News, Amal Ahmad al Sadah and her children will leave Pakistan for Yemen with her children when all the proper paperwork has been completed.

Sadah was inside the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 1 when Navy SEALs stormed the building, looking for bin Laden.  She was shot in the leg during the assault but has since recovered.

The youngest of bin Laden's wives, the 29-year-old married the late al Qaeda chief when she was a teenager.

Since the raid almost two months ago, Sadah has been staying with the other wives who were in the compound.  Reportedly, Sadah was interrogated by CIA officials after she was taken into custody by Pakistani authorities.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May132011

US Interviews Osama Bin Laden's Widows

CNN via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly two weeks after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the U.S. was granted access by Pakistan to interview all three of his wives, a senior U.S. official said.

All three widows were questioned at the same time in the presence of Pakistani intelligence officers.  According to the official, the interviews "didn't go very well."  The women were said to be "hostile" and were not cooperative.

Meanwhile, a senior Pakistani military official is denying claims that there has been any access.

The three widows were staying with bin Laden in his Abbottabad, Pakistan compound when Navy SEALS raided the premises on May 1 and killed him.  U.S. investigators had been hoping to interview his wives in an effort to shed some light on the al Qaeda leader's life and possibly learn about future terrorist attacks he had been plotting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May112011

US Eager to Interrogate Bin Laden's Widows

CNN via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Pakistan is still resisting attempts by U.S. intelligence to interview the three widows of Osama bin Laden who were staying with the al Qaeda leader during the raid on his compound by Navy SEALs on May 1.

While the White House had demanded access to the three women, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency won't even permit American officials to study their interrogation reports of the widows.

A Pakistani security official, familiar with the situation, says the three wives were likely sequestered with bin Laden at the compound in Abbottabad for years.  It's also been reported that there were as many as 13 children there, including eight children of bin Laden, one of who was killed during the operation.

But even as Pakistan's ISI seems reluctant to share any information, U.S. officials have doubts that the widows will be able to shed much light on what their late husband might have been planning in terms of future al Qaeda plots against the U.S. or other foreign interests.

If bin Laden followed strict Islamic code, the women would have been cloistered and not allowed to speak with men outside their family.  It's also doubtful that his widows were privy to bin Laden's business or operational dealings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

Osama Bin Laden's Matchmaker: Real Housewives of Abbottabad

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Yemeni cleric who helped arrange Osama bin Laden's fifth marriage said that the world's most wanted man had only one stipulation for his youngest wife: that she be of high moral value.

The cleric, Sheikh Rashad, told ABC News he helped arrange 54-year-old bin Laden's marriage to Yemeni 29-year-old Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah when the girl was just a teen.  During the marriage, Rashad said Fatah never complained and never made the al Qaeda leader upset.

Manal Omar, author of Barefoot in Baghdad and expert on the role of women in Islam, said that Fatah, along with the other two older wives also discovered in bin Laden's compound, would be called to do almost anything bin Laden wanted.

"Fulfilling the desires of the male leader or husband in the family is a very important duty for women," Omar said.

It was no surprise to Rashad that Fatah apparently tried to defend bin Laden to the last, rushing the Navy SEALs before she was shot in the leg in the same room where bin Laden was killed.  As a Muslim woman, she wanted to die a martyr, Rashad said.

U.S. investigators have been promised access to bin Laden's three wives who are currently in Pakistani custody, one U.S. official said, and they hope to learn from the them key details about life with bin Laden in the Abbottabad compound.

But Imam Omar Saleem Abu Namous of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York said it's possible U.S. intelligence could learn much more than details of bin Laden's day-to-day life in Abbottabad.

"I think Osama bin Laden maybe was intelligent enough or smart enough to give each wife a duty to do," Namous said.

Um Khalid, meaning the mother of Khalid, and Um Hamza, the mother of Hamza, are both from Saudi Arabia and have been described as highly educated and apparently content with sharing a husband.

"Women clearly are attracted to the message of Osama and to have the opportunity to be within his family would be appealing, even for some of the educated women," Omar said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May052011

Three Osama Bin Laden Wives in Pakistani Custody

ABC News Radio Graphic/Photo by CNN via Getty Images(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) -- Pakistani intelligence agents are interrogating three women -- all wives of Osama bin Laden -- who were captured during the U.S.-led raid on Sunday.

The wives, including the youngest, 29-year-old Yemeni Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, were all living with bin Laden inside the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

According to one of the women, bin Laden confined himself to two rooms in the house, including the bedroom where he was killed. He never left those rooms, she claims, for the five years he was hiding there.

Officials also have in custody bin Laden's 13-year-old daughter, who saw her father killed "in front of her eyes," a senior Pakistani security official told ABC News in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

They are also questioning six or seven other children who were captured in the raid.

The reports come as relations between the United States and Pakistan grow increasingly tense. The U.S. intelligence community kept Pakistani officials in the dark until after the top-secret mission to hunt down bin Laden was finished, worried that the information could leak.

The Pakistani army has suffered a major blow to its credibility -- at home for its inability to detect U.S. planes in its airspace through the 40-minute mission, and abroad for not finding bin Laden, who was hiding only steps away from one of the country's top military academies.

In his first public statement since the operation, Pakistan's army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Thursday warned that "violating the sovereignty of Pakistan will warrant a review on the level of military/intelligence cooperation with the United States."

He also said that U.S. military personnel in Pakistan would be reduced to the "minimum essential."

There are currently about 100 U.S. troops in Pakistan.

This is not the first time Pakistan has threatened to cut U.S. forces on the ground. A report published a month ago, following the case of CIA contractor Raymond Davis who allegedly shot and killed two Pakistani men, stated that Pakistanis wanted to cut the U.S. trainer force by 30 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May042011

The Young Wife Who Defended Osama Bin Laden

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The woman who the White House said charged U.S. Navy SEALs in an apparent desperate last ditch effort to protect Osama bin Laden has been identified as bin Laden's youngest wife, a woman nearly half his age.

The woman, identified by a passport found inside the al Qaeda leader's compound as 29-year-old Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, was in the room when the SEALs took the final, fateful shots at 54-year-old Osama bin Laden and was herself shot in the leg when she rushed, unarmed, at the special operators. She was treated for her wounds and is in custody in Pakistan, officials said.

Fatah, bin Laden's fifth wife and the only one left living with him in the house, had been gifted to the al Qaeda leader from a Yemeni family when she was just a teenager and later had three children with him. Of his other wives, he had divorced one and three others had moved to Syria.

To former high-ranking CIA analyst and former FBI counterterrorism official Phil Mudd, it's not surprising that she apparently was willing to risk her life for the man the U.S. has been hunting for more than a decade.

"He is, in the al Qaeda context, an honorable man and he's viewed in their context not as a terrorist but as a statesman," Mudd told ABC News. "I would be surprised if this guy would sacrifice a wife for this operation, but I'm sure she was willing to get in front of a bullet for him."

But bin Laden's children with Fatah are not his only offspring, as he was survived by at least 18 children. None of the sons, however, are in line to succeed their father for leadership of one of the most feared terror organizations in the world.

"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."

During the 40-minute Navy SEAL operation that took bin Laden's life, the U.S. forces also found what one U.S. official described as the "motherlode" of intelligence in the compound.

The material, which includes more than 100 thumb drives and several cell phones, is being analyzed by U.S. intelligence officials in Washington, D.C. as well as Afghanistan and officials hope the information gleaned could help dismantle the entire al Qaeda terror network.

"After attack plans," said Clarke, "[they're looking for] the location of his deputies ... where the money is, where the money comes from, where does it live, and how big an organization is al Qaeda central these days? Is it really an organization anymore at all?"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May032011

Osama Bin Laden Unarmed When Killed, White House Says

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Osama bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed by U.S. Navy SEALs during a daring raid on his compound in Pakistan, the White House said today.

"We were prepared to capture him if that was possible," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. But even though bin Laden was not carrying a weapon, Carney said he had "resisted" and several people in the compound were armed and firing at the American special operators.

"Resistance does not require a firearm," Carney said.

When the SEALs entered the room in which bin Laden was hiding, his wife charged them and was shot in the leg, Carney said. Bin Laden was then shot in the chest and head.

"U.S. personnel on the ground handled themselves with the utmost professionalism," he said. "[Bin Laden] was killed in an operation because of the resistance they met."

The decision to kill, rather than capture, came from commanders on the ground, Carney said.

Officials initially said that bin Laden had been among several people in the compound who took up arms and engaged in a firefight with the SEALs.

President Obama's counterterror chief John Brennan also initially said that bin Laden used one of his wives as a human shield and the woman was killed in the gun battle. That has turned out to be incorrect and officials attributed the mistake to the confusion that usually accompanies a fast-moving gun battle, or "the fog of war."

In a photograph released by the White House, the President and his top advisors – including a visibly tense Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – are shown watching a screen very intently in the White House Situation Room. What was on the screen at the time is not clear, but CIA Director Leon Panetta told the Public Broadcasting Service that Obama was not watching the Navy SEALs helmet-cam footage that showed the shots that took Osama down.

Like the White House's Situation Room, screens in both the Pentagon and the CIA were showing real-time footage of the compound – possibly footage from a circling drone -- creating not one, but three incredibly tense rooms in the highest echelons of U.S. security.

The operation began when two U.S. helicopters flew in low from Afghanistan and swept into the compound where bin Laden was thought to be hiding late Sunday night Pakistan time, or Sunday afternoon Washington time.

Two teams of SEALs slid down fast-ropes from the helicopters as soon as they were in position and stormed the compound. One of the helicopters stalled and made a hard landing just outside the walled compound before the SEALs stormed in. The Navy SEAL team on this mission was supported by helicopter pilots from the 160th Special Ops Air Regiment, part of the Joint Special Operations Command.

After what Carney called a "volatile" firefight, the SEALs killed bin Laden and at least four others with him. The SEALs alerted the White House through the cryptic phrase "Geronimo-E KIA" code. "E" stood for enemy and "KIA" for killed in action.

"Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes that we really didn't know just exactly what was going on. There were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information. But finally Adm. [William] McRaven came back and said he had picked up the word 'Geronimo,' which was the code word that represented they got bin Laden," Panetta told PBS.

The SEALs words, however, were not sufficient proof that the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks was finally dead. As the evidence piled up -- verbal ID, face recognition analysis and DNA matches -- the White House debate continued.

Obama ended the discussion with a terse, "We got him."

Before they left, the SEALs gathered a trove of evidence from among bin Laden's personal possessions, from computer hard drives to CDs and papers. U.S. intelligence analysts are expected to pour over the information in coming days, hoping to turn information kept by the al Qaeda leader against the entire terror network.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio