Iran is holding Saif al-Adel, the third-ranking member of al-Qaeda, but has refused to hand him over to the United States, according to a US newspaper. Iran will only surrender al-Qaeda members in its custody in exchange for members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq, many of whom are in US-supervised camps in Iraq, the New York Times said. A US official approached Tehran through a third party about taking custody of Adel and other al-Qaeda figures but “did not receive a positive response,” the Times quoted a US official as saying. Among those held in Iran, according to US and Middle Eastern officials, are al-Qaeda’s Kuwaiti-born spokesman Sulaiman Abu Gaith; Osama bin Laden’s Saudi-born son, Saad; and Abu Masab al-Zarwaqi of Jordan, a close aide to bin Laden. “We are confident that Iran is holding these people,” a US official said. Adel is thought to have arranged the triple suicide bombings in Riyadh on May 12 that killed 35, and to have played a part in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200. Full Story
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