by Florian Flade
Hamza or Khalid – Which Bin Laden son was killed in the Abbottabad raid? Nothing seems clear even though a lot of details have emerged from the US Navy Seal operation inside Osama Bin Laden´s hideout earlier this week. There are contradictory reports on who was inside the compound at the time of the raid and who was killed, injured or survived the US attack.
John O.Brennan, the chief counterterrorism advisor to President Obama, said in a White House press conference on May 2 that the US Special forces had killed Hamza Bin Laden, the 22 year-old son of the Al-Qaida leader.
Question: Were there any civilian – I mean, how many civilian casualties were there?
MR. BRENNAN: Bin Laden died; the two al Qaeda facilitators – the brothers, who were – the courier and his brother in the compound; bin Laden’s son Hamza; and the woman, presumed to be his wife, who was shielding bin Laden.
Since that press conference it became clear, the woman that assaulted the American soldiers in the room with Osama Bin Laden did survive the raid and was not killed but shot in the leg. From documents found inside the Abbottabad compound it is possible to suggest the woman is Bin Laden´s youngest wife, Amal al-Sadah from Yemen.
Today the New York Times reveals some new details of the Abbottabad raid in a inside account. According to the NYT, the Navy Seals Team first shot a bodyguard of Bin Laden who tried to attack them and then also killed a woman.
“When the commandos moved into the main house, they saw the courier’s brother, who they believed was preparing to fire a weapon. They shot and killed him. Then, as they made their way up the stairs of the house, officials said they killed Bin Laden’s son Khalid as he lunged toward the Seal team.”
So, which account is to be trusted as for now? Was the Bin Laden son who was killed and then obviously taken by the US soldiers along with the body of Osama Bin Laden himself, Khalid or Hamza?
I spoke to Chief Editor of the Arab newspaper “Al-Quds al-Arabi”, Abdel Bari Atwan, who met Bin Laden in November 1996 in Afghanistan. Atwan also had the chance to meet some of Bin Laden´s family members in the Tora Bora caves. He believes it is most likely Hamza Bin Laden, the Al-Qaida leader´s favorite son was the one shot dead by the Americans.
Khalid Bin Laden is of the same age as Hamza and seems to have remained inside Al-Qaida after 9/11. Last year he sent a letter to the Iranian government, urging them to lift the house arrest and travel ban for some members of the Bin Laden family held in a compound near Tehran.
Until further details will be released by the U.S. government or some credible inside sources, speculation will not stop on who was present during the killing of the most wanted man alive.