(NEW YORK) — Osama bin Laden’s three wives are once again on their way to Saudi Arabia after serving a short sentence under house arrest in Pakistan for illegally entering the country.
The wives, along with a gaggle of children, were scheduled to leave last week but their departure was delayed when it was discovered one of the travelers — reportedly the brother of bin Laden’s youngest wife — did not have a passport.
The three women — two Saudis and one Yemeni — had been held in Pakistan since the al Qaeda leader was killed in early May in a nighttime raid by U.S. Navy SEALs. Their departure comes just days before the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s death, a day Western security officials are watching closely for hints of retaliatory attacks.
After the SEAL raid, American officials said they were allowed to speak to the wives once, but the oldest of the three was so combative that nothing at all came from the interrogation. Months later the wives were convicted by a Pakistani court of coming into the country illegally and served a brief detention sentence.
However, in the course of the illegal entry case against bin Laden’s wives, investigators revealed new details about the al Qaeda leader’s life in the shadows before his demise.
According to a police report obtained by ABC News, bin Laden’s youngest wife, Amal Ahmad Abdul Fatah, told investigators that for a majority of the near-decade between the 9/11 attacks and bin Laden’s death, he did not live deep in rugged caves in the Afghan border region as was the popular belief but stayed in various houses in major Pakistani cities. While he was hiding, bin Laden managed to father four children — at least two of whom were born in government hospitals in Pakistan.
A video obtained exclusively by ABC News showing the inside of Bin Laden’s last home, a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, revealed that bin Laden and his wives appeared to have lived on the top two floors of the three story house, but bin Laden could separate himself as much as he wished. The house was built to sustain multiple families independent of each other.
Still, Phil Mudd, one of the men who hunted bin Laden with the CIA, said that bin Laden’s last years confined in his walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, with multiple wives and children most likely were not stress-free.
“I can only begin to imagine that that looked like American reality TV,” said Mudd, “that he was living in some version of the Kardashians in Abbottabad.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN