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Report on Bin Laden Son Unconfirmed

November 05, 2002|From Associated Press

TEHRAN — Iranian officials said Monday that they have arrested and deported dozens of infiltrators along the nation's eastern border, but they did not confirm a report that one of Osama bin Laden's sons was among the deportees.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said it was not possible to verify the identities of people seeking to illegally cross the border "because most of their documents are fake."

On Saturday, the Web site of Britain's Financial Times quoted unidentified Iranian officials as saying that one of Bin Laden's sons was among hundreds of people suspected of links to Al Qaeda detained by Iran. But Asefi said at a news conference that his country was unable to confirm the report.

"Iran's border guards deal with all illegal entries of foreign nationals in the same manner.... We have extradited dozens of them in the past two months," he said, without elaborating.

Bin Laden has at least 23 children by several wives. One of the oldest, Saad bin Laden, who is about 22, has emerged as an Al Qaeda leader and is one of America's top two dozen targets in the network.

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