Osama bin Laden
Osama Bin Mohammed Bin Awad Bin Laden also popularly known as Osama bin Laden was an international terrorist and the founder of al-Qaeda, a militant Sunni Islamist multi-national organization founded in 1988.
He was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in March 10, 1957, a son of Yemeni Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a billionaire construction magnate with close ties to the Saudi royal family, and Mohammed bin Laden’s tenth wife, Syrian Hamida al-Attas. Osama was the 17th of 52 children born to his father.
From 1968 to 1976, he attended the élite secular Al-Thager Model School. He studied economics and business administration at King Abdulaziz University. Some reports suggest he earned a degree in civil engineering in 1979, or a degree in public administration in 1981.
Osama got married to his 14-year-old first cousin Najwa Ghanem in the year 1974 at the age of 17. They were separated before September 11, 2001. Bin Laden’s other known wives were Khadijah Sharif (married 1983, divorced 1990s); Khairiah Sabar (married 1985); Siham Sabar (married 1987); and Amal al-Sadah (married 2000). Bin Laden fathered between 20 and 26 children with his wives.
Bin Laden was raised as a devout Sunni Muslim. After leaving college in 1979, bin Laden went to Pakistan, joined Abdullah Azzam and used money and machinery from his own construction company to help the Mujahideen resistance in the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
In 1984, bin Laden and Azzam established Maktab al-Khidamat, which funneled money, arms and fighters from around the Arab world into Afghanistan. Bin Laden established camps inside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan and trained volunteers from across the Muslim world to fight against the Soviet-backed regime, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
By 1988, bin Laden had split from Maktab al-Khidamat. While Azzam acted as support for Afghan fighters, bin Laden wanted a more military role. Al-Qaeda was formed at August 11, 1988, meeting between “several senior leaders” of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Abdullah Azzam, and bin Laden.
Notes of a meeting of bin Laden and others on August 20, 1988 indicate that al-Qaeda was a formal group by that time: “Basically an organized Islamic faction, its goal is to lift the word of God, to make his religion victorious.” A list of requirements for membership itemized the following: listening ability, good manners, obedience, and making a pledge (bayat) to follow one’s superiors.
It is believed that the first bombing attack involving bin Laden was the December 29, 1992, bombing of the Gold Mihor Hotel in Aden in which two people were killed. Bin Laden was expelled from Saudi Arabia due to his anti-government activities in 1991. Saudi Arabia revoked his citizenship, and his family disowned him as well. He then took refuge in Sudan.
Osama first declared war on America after the 9/11 attacks. The September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. At the time of this incident he had been wanted by the FBI for years.
Bin Laden initially denied involvement in the attacks. In a videotape recovered by U.S. forces in November 2001 in Jalalabad, bin Laden was seen discussing the attack with Khaled al-Harbi in a way that indicates foreknowledge. The tape was broadcast on various news networks on December 13, 2001. Osama went into hiding and, for more than 10 years, he was hunted along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. In the 2004 Osama bin Laden video, bin Laden abandoned his denials without retracting past statements. In it he said he had personally directed the nineteen hijackers.
In May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed by United States military special operations unit shortly after 1:00 am local time. The operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, was ordered by United States President Barack Obama and carried out in a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operation by a team of United States Navy SEALs from the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group of the Joint Special Operations Command, with support from CIA operatives on the ground.
Reports at the time stated that U.S. forces had taken bin laden’s body to Afghanistan for positive identification, then buried it at sea, in accordance with Islamic law, within 24 hours of his death. The FBI described Osama bin Laden as tall and thin, between 6’4″ and 6’6″ (193-198 cm) in height and weighing about 165 pounds (75 kg). He was a soft-spoken, mild mannered man. According to Michael Scheuer, bin Laden claims to speak only Arabic.