Most recenty in the headlines with the news of his death in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden — the leader of the militant group Al Qaeda who claimed responsibility for the 911 terrorist attacks — was born Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden on March
10, 1957 in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia.
grown up in a privileged household, headed by his father Mohammed
Awad bin Laden - a wealthy building contractor to the Saudi
royal family - he was later schooled at one of the most prestigeous
schools in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Laden was first married at 17 in 1974 and later took several other
wives. (He reportedly has fathered a total of 24 children including
sons Abdallah, Omar, Saad
and Mohammed - the latter two following in their father's footsteps
as militant Islamists.)
First report: Osama bin Laden killed
1979, he earned his college degree in civil engineering at King
Abdulaziz University, where he also is believed to have been first
heavily influenced by members of the Muslim
Brotherhood and anti-Western jihad. The
same year, with the Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan, bin Laden became completely radicalized
and helped use his family's considerable fortune to fund the resistance
Along with additional help from the CIA, he also personally traveled
to the war front to fight in the armed struggle and coordinate
other Muslim forces throughout the region.
threat to the West
secret help in defeating Soviet forces in Afghanistan, bin Laden
next turned his sights on the U.S.and issued a fatwa
or edict in 1998 for jihad against the West. Specific demands
for the withdrawal of military forces from Israel and the Mideast
also included a call for killing U.S. civilians and military personnel
the start of his war against the West, bin Laden has been linked
to major terrorist bombings around the world including assaults
embassies in Africa, several attacks in Bali,
commuter trains in Madrid
and the USS
Cole attack in 2000.
2001 attacks have never been directly linked to bin Laden, although
he reportedly had an active hand in plotting and funding the crashing
of two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center resulting
in 2,988 deaths.
of his death in 2006, the alleged end of the al-Qaeda leader supposedly
began with a report by the Saudi secret service to the Saudi Arabian
government, which in turn transferred the information to the French
secret service. The French government, however, has never publicly
acknowledge receipt of any such document.
For years, Bin
Laden's whereabouts continued to remain a mystery, although
anecdotal evidence continued to point to Afghanistan, where the
perceived war of the world's major superpowers against Islam first
Laden (or someone looking very much like him) has appeared in
crafted videos following the terrorist bombing in New York
in 2001, but his communication with the outside world has since
President Obama announces that
Bin Laden is killed in Pakistan.
Osama is Dead
On the evening of May 1, 2011, headines blared around the world with the news of Osama Bin Laden's death as the result of an airstrike by US forces forces in a mansion outside the capital of Islamabad in Abbottābad, Pakistan
As more details emerged, it was reported that a CIA-led operation was largely responsibile for killing Osama bin Laden and recovering his body, this following a decade-long hunt for the elusive militant leader.
If the American government is serious about avoiding explosions
inside the U.S., then let it stop provoking the feelings of 1,250
million Muslims. CNN 1997.
We believe that the biggest thieves in the world are Americans
and the biggest terrorists on earth are the Americans. ABC's
Nightline, June 1998.
For the American forces to expect anything from me personally
reflects a very narrow perception. Thousands of millions of Muslims
are angry. The Americans should expect reactions from the Muslim
world that are proportionate to the injustice they inflict. Time
Magazine December 1998.
We, God willing, will continue to fight you and will continue
martyrdom operations inside and outside the United States until
you abandon your oppression and foolish acts. - audiotape
broadcast on Al Jazeera, October 2003.
O American people, I am speaking to tell you about the ideal way
to avoid another Manhattan, about war and its causes and results.
- videotape on Al Jazeera, October 2004.