Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, who was shot in the leg during the raid, is being treated at the military hospital in Rawalpindi, according to reports on the Arabic news network Al-Arabiya.
It is though to be the same hospital that bin Laden himself is said to have been treated in on September 10 2001 – hours before the attack on the World Trade Center. Despite being in hospital, the 27-year-old, who was bin Laden’s fifth wife, is now at the centre of a diplomatic custody battle after US attempts to interrogate her appeared to be rejected by Pakistan.
Ms al-Sadah was shot, but left behind in Pakistan as US special forces fled the compound having killed bin Laden. It is suggested that they had planned to take her with them to question her about the life of the al-Qaeda mastermind. But their plan was dashed when one of the Black Hawk helicopters crashed, meaning there was no room for bin Laden’s wife in either of the other two helicopters, which were carrying 25 commandos.
A passport found in bin Laden’s compound has revealed a picture of Ms al-Sadah and the fact that she is from Yemen. Now intelligence sources in Pakistan have said that Ms al-Sadah, and the other relatives of bin Laden currently in hospital will be returned to their countries of origin when they have recovered. Up to three women and nine children from the compound are currently in Pakistani detention. A senior intelligence source told The Daily Telegraph that any request from US officials would not be granted yet.
“We will not allow access until such time as we have, in writing, from their country of origin, a letter saying yes we can grant access to the Americans,” he said. The source said that this was normal procedure and that the policy had been in place since 2003.
However it is likely to further strain diplomatic relations between the US and Pakistan, which have already been badly damaged following suggestions that the Pakistani authorities supported bin Laden during his six-year stay in the compound. If Yemen refuses to grant the Americans permission to speak with Ms al-Sadah, it could prevent the US authorities obtaining crucial information about bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terror network he headed.
Ms al-Sadah, who is half the age of 54-year-old bin Laden and younger than some of his at least 20 children, had been gifted to the al-Qaeda leader from a Yemeni family when she was just a teenager. She was just 17 when she and Bin Laden wed in Afghanistan. They later had three children together. Bin Laden had later reportedly sent her home to Yemen for her own safety but somehow she returned despite being under surveillance. She has already told Pakistani investigators they had been living in the compound since 2005, according to Time magazine.
Of his other wives, bin Laden had divorced one and three others had moved to Syria.
Posted on May 5, 2011 by Joseph F. Clark