RealNews

Saudi Says Iran Drags Feet Returning Al Qaeda Leaders

As many as 15 al Qaeda leaders and operatives are currently in Iran, but Tehran is dragging its feet in responding to requests from Arab governments to repatriate the accused terrorists for interrogation and trial, a senior Saudi official said yesterday. Among the al Qaeda members being held in what Iranian officials describe as “safe houses” are Saad bin Laden, who was being groomed to succeed his father, Osama bin Laden, as al Qaeda’s leader, and Saif Adel, an Egyptian described by U.S. officials as the terrorist network’s security chief, said the Saudi counterterrorism official who asked not to be identified. “Iran has been giving us the runaround” about the al Qaeda personnel in that country, and for months Iranian officials denied knowing their identities, the Saudi official said. Yesterday’s briefing for reporters was part of a wide-ranging attempt by Riyadh to demonstrate that it is working closely with Washington on counterterrorist initiatives, including attempts to win concessions from Tehran. Saudi officials have ratcheted up their public relations efforts in the weeks since a congressional report on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks suggested that Saudi figures have helped finance worldwide terrorism — an assertion that the Saudi government strongly denies. Full Story

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