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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com
Boston Globe Online / Nation | World
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BIN LADEN KIN

Family weighed staying in US

By Kevin Cullen and Andrea Estes, Globe Staff, 9/21/2001

Although many of the Boston-area relatives of Osama bin Laden flew to Saudi Arabia this week, some were reluctant to listen to warnings by their government and the FBI last week that they faced possible retaliatory violence.

A Saudi diplomat said it remained unclear how many of bin Laden's relatives remain in the United States, where some work and others go to school. ''Some of them didn't want to leave. They think they can ride it out,'' said the diplomat, who spoke on the condition he was not named.

The diplomat said the bin Ladens were advised by their government and the FBI they should return to Saudi Arabia for their own safety. ''The advice given last week was that they should consider leaving, at least until things cool down,'' he said.

At least five members of bin Laden's large family flew out of Logan International Airport Tuesday night on a private jet, which aviation sources described as a Boeing 727 reconfigured so it had only 30 first-class seats.

In addition, at least one of bin Laden's 27 brothers, Kalil, reportedly boarded a jet in Orlando, Fla., which had been chartered by the Saudi government, had stopped in Los Angeles, Orlando, and then Boston Wednesday night before flying to Saudi Arabia.

The bin Ladens, who paid for their own plane, and about two dozen Saudi citizens who took up their government's offer to fly home free, were questioned by the FBI before being allowed to leave the United States.

Although the FBI has repeatedly searched the Charlestown condominium complex where one of bin Laden's brothers, Mohammaed, owns six luxury apartments and where some of the relatives live, the Saudi government says there is no indication bin Laden's relatives are considered suspects.

All of bin Laden's relatives, members of one of Saudi Arabia's richest families, have publicly disowned him and renounced his extremist views and his Al Qaeda terror organization, which advocates killing Americans in a holy war.

This story ran on page A30 of the Boston Globe on 9/21/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

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