The mother of al-Qaeda leader has described her son as a “good kid” who was “brainwashed” by fundamentalists. Alia Ghanem opened up for the first time in public about the dead terror chief who masterminded the 9/11 attacks.

Speaking from her home in , where the Bin Laden clan remains one of the country’s most influential families, she said that it never crossed her mind that he would become a jihadist. When she learned what her son had become, she said she was “extremely upset”.

And the family also revealed that Osama’s son Hamza, 29, has sworn to avenge his father’s death, and is believed to be in . His uncle, Hassan, said he would urge Hamza not to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was killed by a US special operations team on May 2, 2011, at the age of 54.

Describing her son, Ghanem told : “He was a very good child until he met some people who pretty much brainwashed him in his early 20s. You can call it a cult.”

She said Bin Laden was radicalised at the King Abdulaziz University in the port city of . But Bin Laden’s half brother Ahmad later said Ghanem is “in denial” about her son.

He said that when news broke of the , family members knew he was behind it. “From the youngest to the eldest, we all felt ashamed of him,” he said. In the 1980s, Osama travelled to Afghanistan, where he joined the fight against Russian occupation. Brother Hassan said he was not proud of Osama “as a man”, but said when he achieved “superstardom” it was “all for nothing”. DAILY MIRROR
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