Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s first mother-in-law died of a stroke after hearing the news that US forces killed him in Pakistan, a London-based Arabic newspaper says.
Nabih al-Ghanem, the mother of bin Laden’s first wife, Najwa, was taken to a hospital in Latakia in northern Syria, where she died after suffering the stroke, the Asharq Al-Awsat daily said today.
It said the woman in her 70s “could not bear the bad news and lost consciousness” after US President Barack Obama announced bin Laden’s killing by US commandos during a raid in Pakistan on May 2.
Bin Laden had married Najwa, his Syrian-born cousin, when he was 17, and they had 11 children, the paper said adding she had left Afghanistan a few days before the September 11, 2011 terror attacks on the United States and now lives in Syria.
In January last year, Asharq Al-Awsat reported that a son of the al Qaeda leader had been allowed to leave Iran to look for his mother in Syria.
Part of the bin Laden family, whose whereabouts have been unclear since the 9/11 attacks, was in Iran, the daily said, adding that bin Laden had taken a second wife in 1983 and they had three children before divorcing.
Numerous people had lived alongside bin Laden in his dwelling in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The compound housed three of his wives and a dozen of their children, according to Pakistani authorities.
At least five people were killed during the US assault: bin Laden, whose body was taken by the Americans, one of his sons, his two bodyguards – known as the “Kuwaitis” – and a woman, according to Pakistani security sources.
The survivors – three women and their children – are in Pakistani army detention.
During interrogation, the youngest of the wives, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, a 29-year-old Yemeni, had told investigators bin Laden had lived in the villa for five years.
Islam allows polygamy with men having the right to have up to four wives as long as they are well provided for.