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Saudis: No bin Laden relatives sent there by Iran

Report: One of his sons detained fleeing Afghanistan

SPECIAL REPORT
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) -- Saudi officials denied published reports Monday that any family member of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been transferred to their country by Iran.

The Financial Times of London quoted an unnamed Iranian official Saturday as saying Iranian security forces had detained at least one of bin Laden's sons along with several hundred people suspected of having links to al Qaeda.

The captures reportedly were made in Iranian territory as the group fled Afghanistan, but the Iranian official did not say when the incident occurred.

The official said one of bin Laden's sons was handed over to either Saudi or Pakistani authorities, according to the report.

An Iranian foreign ministry official said the Iranian government does not know whether bin Laden's son was ever in the country.

He said a group crossed into Iran illegally and the son might have been in the group, but the government does not know whether he was. The group was expelled from Iran, the official said.

"We have arrested and deported quite a few people in recent times. None of them had identification, so maybe bin Laden's son was amongst them. The Islamic Republic does not confirm or deny that bin Laden's son was amongst those people," said Hamid Reza Asefi, a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

A U.S. intelligence official said the United States "cannot confirm" whether Iran held and possibly deported one of bin Laden's sons. Bin Laden is believed to have about 25 children, among them many sons, the official said, and reports offer no information as to which son was supposedly held.

-- CNN producer Pierre Bairin contributed to this report.



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