Betrayed by Laundry: Osama Bin Laden Was Found Due to Drying Clothes, Book Claims
21:34 GMT 31.07.2021 (Updated: 05:59 GMT 01.08.2021)
© AP Photo / Mazhar Ali KhanOsama bin Laden in 1998 file photo from his hideout in Afghanistan.
© AP Photo / Mazhar Ali Khan
Osama bin Laden, who is said to have been the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was assassinated by the US military in May 2011, during the tenure of US President Barack Obama.
It was clotheslines filled with drying laundry in Osama bin Laden's secret compound in Pakistan that helped the CIA detect the notorious global terrorist and carry out an operation to kill him, according to a new book "The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden", written by a national security analyst and former CNN producer, Peter Bergen.
Known to be polygamous, by the time bin Laden is said to have instigated the 9/11 attacks, he was supporting three wives: Khairiah Sabar, 52, Siham al-Sharif, 44, and Amal el-Sadah, 17.
"To be a true Muslim", bin Laden believed, "you should only marry the four wives sanctioned by Islam and then […] treat all four of them fairly", Bergen writes in the book, cited in the New York Post.
After the terrorist attacks, the family was "scattered in the wind", while bin Laden hid in the Afghan mountains and in northern Pakistan.
He was reportedly determined to bring his family back together, which is why, according to the book, he ordered his bodyguard, Ibrahim Saeed Ahmed abd al-Hamid, to buy land, hire an architect, and create a custom compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The result of the work was a three-storey main house that had four bedrooms on the first floor and four more on the second, each with its own bathroom, and a top floor containing a bedroom, bathroom, study, and terrace for bin Laden's personal use. Family members reportedly began moving to the compound in 2005 and hardly ever left, with only Amal visiting a hospital twice under a fake name to give birth.
The bodyguard, with his own family members, visited the main house regularly, but lived in a separate residence on the same piece of land, following strict security measures and keeping a low profile. One day in 2010, however, a CIA informant in the city of Peshawar reportedly noticed Ibrahim in a crowd. In August, the bodyguard's car led the CIA to bin Laden's compound, occupied, according to the book, with three wives, eight children, and four grandchildren.
The property had many secretive and bizarre appointments that sparked CIA interest. Particularly, the absence of telephone or internet lines, very few windows, and a walled patio.
"Who puts a privacy wall around a patio?", then-CIA Director Leon Panetta asked staffers after being briefed. "Exactly", one analyst replied, according to the book.
A CIA-affiliated safe house was established in the vicinity to determine the "pattern of life" displayed by the compound's occupants, but it was a laundry line that gave observers "the final clue". Every morning, it would be filled with women's garments, traditional Pakistani male clothing, children's diapers, and many other pieces that were reportedly too much for the 11 members of the bodyguard's family.
Laundry calculations led agents to believe that the occupants of the compound included one adult man, several adult women, and at least nine children, which was "a perfect fit for the polygamous patriarch they were seeking".
Additional CIA evidence was presented to then-US President Barack Obama, who authorised the CIA go ahead with the assassination.
In May 2011, a US military operation was carried out against the notorious global terrorist, with Washington later declaring that Osama bin Laden had been killed.