US believes bin Laden's son killed

The US counterterrorism official who requested anonymity said Saad bin Laden's death would have taken place in the "last few months" but could not provide more details.

"There are some indictions that he may be dead, but it's not 100 percent certain," the official said. "If he is dead, Saad bin Laden was a small player with a big name. He has never been a major operational figure."

The official would not say whether he was killed in Pakistan, but the then-director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, said in January that the CIA believed bin Laden left Iran in 2008 and headed into Pakistan. His father is believed to be hiding in the Pakistan's mountainous region near the Afghan border.

McConnell had also said that the son had played a role in some terrorist attacks.

The CIA is known to fly unmanned Predator airplanes armed with Hellfire missiles into Pakistani airspace to target Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Saad bin Laden is believed to have fled Afghanistan during the US-led invasion in 2001 and sought refuge in Iran.

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