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Radio says bin Laden son killed

ONE of Osama bin Laden's sons was likely killed by a US missile in Pakistan earlier this year, US National Public Radio reported, citing US intelligence.

A US counter-intelligence official said it was "80 to 85 percent" certain that Sa'ad bin Laden, who was in his 20s, had been killed, adding the son of the al-Qaida leader was not a major figure.

It was unknown whether Sa'ad was anywhere near his father when he died.

The US believes bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan. While intelligence agencies have had near misses tracking his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri in Pakistan, the hunt for bin Laden went cold years ago.

The difficulties of confirming deaths of al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in the badlands of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border was underlined by a telephone call from a spokesman for the Taliban in the Swat valley, where the army launched an offensive almost three months ago.

The Pakistani military said earlier this month that an airstrike had wounded commander Fazlullah, but his spokesman said his leader was alive and unhurt.

"All of the Taliban leadership is okay," the spokesman said before playing an audio recording of Fazlullah's, recorded on Wednesday. "Pakistani rulers have carried out suppression on Pashtuns and the people of Malakand division (of North West Frontier Province) to please the United States," Fazlullah said.


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