Obama found on 'hit list' seized in raid as US questions late leader's wives

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The Independent Online

US intelligence officials have interrogated the three wives of Osama Bin Laden who were left behind in his compound after Navy Seals shot dead the al-Qa'ida leader. The women were apparently "hostile" and uncooperative.

Reports from the US suggest the interview session lasted just 30 minutes and that much of that time was taken up with translation issues. Members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), were also present. In the aftermath of the raid by US special forces 12 days ago, the women and a number of children were left behind after Bin Laden's body was removed.

Whether the intention was also to take his family members before one of their helicopters had to be abandoned, remains unclear. Either way, the US has been pushing to question the women since they were taken into custody by Pakistani authorities.

The women were interrogated as it emerged that the cache of papers and computer records seized during the raid had revealed that Bin Laden was plotting to have Barack Obama assassinated during the 2012 presidential election.

Pakistan's intelligence chief, Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha, has offered to resign for failing to catch Bin Laden. He admitted negligence for the Al-Qa'ida leader's ability to live in the country for six years undetected.

The youngest of the three widows, 29-year-old Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, of Yemen, was shot in the leg during the raid, apparently after lunging at one of the US troops. The two other women, both Saudis, have been identified as Khairiah Sabar, also known as Umm Hamza, and Siham Sabar, who also goes by the name Umm Khalid.

The US interrogators had wanted to see each woman separately in order to cross-examine them independently, but according to a report by CNN, the request was refused and the women were questioned together. The oldest of the women spoke for the three of them.

.It had been reported that one of the wives told ISI officials that they had spent more than two years in a village near Haripur, south of Abbottabad.

Little information was apparently obtained during the tense session, though Pakistani officials have held open the option of the US interrogators seeing the women again. The trio are three of the al-Qa'ida leader's five wives, two of whom had separated from him.

He is said to have fathered up to 20 children, including 11 sons. One was shot and killed during the raid.