RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Osama bin Laden’s family will be deported from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia early Friday, government officials said, nearly a year after the Al-Qaeda leader was killed in a US raid.
The 9/11 mastermind’s three widows and their children were detained by the Pakistani authorities after the Saudi was killed in a US Navy SEAL operation in the garrison town of Abbottabad, north of Islamabad, last May.
Washington and Islamabad are still trying to patch up their relationship, which was badly damaged by the revelation that the world’s most wanted man was living a stone’s throw from Pakistan’s elite military academy.
“They are at the airport and about to leave the country for Saudi Arabia. A special plane arrived to take them and is scheduled to leave at around 1:30 (2030 GMT Thursday),” an interior ministry official told AFP.
A court sentenced the widows and two of bin Laden’s older daughters to 45 days’ detention on charges of illegal entry and residency in Pakistan and ordered their deportation.
Around midnight on Friday a minibus collected the family of the terror kingpin from the Islamabad house where they had served the sentence, which was completed 10 days ago.
“A special plane arrived and is waiting for the family. There will be immigration procedures inside the airport, then they will go,” an airport security source said.