A son of Osama bin Laden said Wednesday he is working with the United Nations to obtain his family's release from Pakistan after the U.S. raid that killed the former al-Qaida leader in May.
"I want to send a message to the leaders of Pakistan: They should help the children of Osama bin Laden to go wherever they want to go. The Pakistani government should protect them, because they are just innocent children and women," Omar bin Laden told Reuters.
Omar, who is said to bear little resemblance to his father, said he has been based in the Qatari capital for a year, launching his own property development company called Qatar bin Laden Group.
The family amassed fortunes in construction and real estate, wealth that enabled Osama bin Laden to fund and plan attacks against the United States and its ally Saudi Arabia, which he accused of violating the principles of Islam.
After the attacks in New York City and Arlington, Va., on Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden became the subject of a massive manhunt that forced him into hiding.
After he was killed in his last hiding place, a compound north of Islamabad in Pakistan, Pakistani authorities detained Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, one of bin Laden's widows, plus two other wives and several children.
He is believed to have about 20 children by several wives.
Omar bin Laden said all of his relatives except for his sister Fatima and her husband have left Iran, where several children of Osama bin Laden and his first wife, Najwa, had fled in 2001.
He added that he was not convinced his father hd been killed in May during the U.S. military operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
"Why hasn't the U.S. shown the photos? If we haven't seen the body, we can't be completely sure," he said.
U.S. authorities said they decided not to release pictures because of the potential to incite violence and the possibility that al-Qaida would use them as a propaganda tool.