BIN LADEN'S SONS SEIZED; 'Successor' Captured in Afghan Shootout: 7 Al Qaeda Are Killed

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Byline: DAVID TAYLOR;FOREIGN AGENCIES

TWO of Osama bin Laden's sons have been arrested in south-east Afghanistan, in an operation involving US forces which left seven more al Qaeda members dead.

News of the dramatic arrests in the Rabat area, near the Afghan border with Pakistan and Iran, was confirmed this afternoon by Pakistan's provincial home minister Sanaullah Zehri.

The two included Saad, Bin Laden's eldest son, tipped by the al Qaeda chief to replace him. Saad is on America's most-wanted terrorism list.

Also arrested was Hamza bin Laden, the youngest of between 14 and 18 sons of the world's most wanted man. Both sons were wounded in the operation, said one report.

The breakthrough came after intense speculation in the region that the net was closing on Bin Laden following the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the September 11 attacks in New York.

He has told his CIA and FBI captors that he met Bin Laden in the Pakistani region of Baluchistan as recently as a month ago. …