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Fate of Osama bin Laden's children in doldrums due to his revoked citizenship status

May 6, 2011 - London

Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's children may now be stateless because of the Saudi-born terrorist's revoked citizenship status.

The 9/11 mastermind, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed Sunday night in a top secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in city, located 50 kilometres northeast of Islamabad and 150 kilometres east of Peshawar.

American soldiers left the children at the Abbottabad compound with their hands bound behind their backs after taking away bin Laden's body and dozens of computers and hard drives.

The children- aged 4 to 12- and are being kept in a safe house near Islamabad in the military city of Rawalpindi, a source told the Star.

Details on their specific ages and gender have not been released, although reports indicate bin Laden's 12-year-old daughter Safia witnessed her father's death.

It is also possible that some of the children might be bin Laden's nephews and nieces.

While Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has said it wants to repatriate the children to their country of origin, this may prove difficult since Saudi Arabia had revoked the citizenship of bin Laden back in 1994.

It remains unclear where his children were born, but a person familiar with the matter said that Pakistan's Foreign Ministry had asked Saudi officials on Tuesday to take custody of bin Laden's children, but the request was refused, the report said.

Because of bin Laden's revoked citizenship status, his children may now be stateless, said a United Nations official based in Pakistan.

At least one of bin Laden's wives may be a citizen of Yemen, the report said, adding that an Urdu language paper published a grainy photo of a Yemeni passport on Wednesday, which it reported to be of one of his widows.

A Yemeni diplomat in Pakistan declined to comment when contacted. It is unclear whether Yemen would agree to take bin Laden's children.


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