All About Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of al-Qaeda, the organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets. He was a member of the wealthy Saudi bin Laden family and an ethnic Kindite.
Bin Laden was on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation's lists of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives and Most Wanted Terrorists for his involvement in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. From 2001 to 2011 bin Laden was a major target of the War on Terror, which has resulted in a total of between 80,000 and 1.2 million civilian deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia between 2001 and 2007.
Bin Laden managed to remain in hiding during 3 U.S. presidential administrations. In April of 2011, United States President Barack Obama's was given intelligence about his seclusion at a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. On April 29, 2011, the president authorized a raid that was ultimately carried out by members of the U.S. Navy SEALs in the early morning of May 2, 2011. The firefight that ensued resulted in fatal gunshot wounds to bin Laden's head and chest. Information found during the SEALs' intelligence sweeps of the compound is believed to have provided further intelligence about al-Qaeda. Shortly after his death, bin Laden's body was transported out to sea for burial, thus ending a manhunt that lasted nearly 12 years.
On May 6, 2011, al-Qaeda acknowledged his death and concurrently vowed to retaliate.

Name:
There is no universally accepted standard for transliterating Arabic words and Arabic names into English; bin Laden's name was most frequently rendered "Osama bin Laden". The FBI and CIA, as well as other U.S. governmental agencies, have used either "Usama bin Laden" or "Usama bin Ladin", both of which may be abbreviated as "UBL". Less common renderings include "Ussamah bin Ladin" and, in the French-language media, "Oussama ben Laden". Other spellings include "Binladen" or, as used by his family in the West, "Binladin". The decapitalization of bin is based on the convention of leaving short prepositions and articles uncapitalized in surnames; however, bin means "son" and is not a preposition or article. The spellings with o and e come from a Persian-influenced pronunciation also used in Afghanistan, where bin Laden spent many years.
The Arabic linguistic convention would be to refer to him as "Osama" or "Osama bin Laden", not "bin Laden" alone, as "bin Laden" is a patronymic, not a surname in the Western manner. In its expanded form, it means "Osama, son of Mohammed, son of Awad, son of Laden". According to bin Laden's son Omar bin Laden, the family's hereditary surname is "al-Qahtani" (Arabic: ‎القحطاني‎, āl-Qaḥṭānī), but bin Laden's father Mohammed bin Laden never officially registered the name.
Osama bin Laden had also assumed the kunyah Abū ʿAbdāllāh ("father of Abdallah"). His admirers have referred to him by several nicknames, including the "Prince" or "Emir" (al-Amīr), the "Sheik" (aš-Šayḫ), "Sheik al-Mujahid" (al-Muǧāhid Šayḫ), "Hajj", the "Lion" or "Lion Sheik", and the "Director".


Childhood, education and personal life:

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a son of Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a wealthy businessman with close ties to the Saudi royal family, and Mohammed bin Laden's tenth wife, Hamida al-Attas (then called Alia Ghanem). In a 1998 interview, Osama gave his birth date as March 10, 1957.
Osama's parents divorced soon after he was born; Osama's mother then remarried Mohammed al-Attas. The couple had four children, and Osama lived in the new household with three half-brothers and one half-sister.
Osama was raised as a devout Wahhabi Muslim. 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. One source described him as "hard working",; another said he left university during his third year without completing a college degree. At university, Osama's main interest was religion, where he was involved in both "interpreting the Quran and jihad" and charitable work. Other interests included writing poetry; reading, with the works of Field Marshal Montgomery and Charles de Gaulle said to be among his favorites; black stallions; and football, in which he enjoyed playing at centre forward and followed the fortunes of Arsenal F.C..
In 1974, at the age of 17, Osama married Najwa Ghanem at Latakia; Najwa divorced him in 2001 before the attacks. He married five other women: Khadijah Sharif (1983), who divorced him in the 1990s; Khairiah Sabar (1985), whose fate is unknown; Siham Sabar (1987), whose fate is also unknown; an unknown wife with whom his marriage was immediately annulled; and Amal al-Sadah (2000). Through these women bin Laden fathered between 20 and 26 children. Many of bin Laden's children fled to Iran following the September 11 attacks and as of 2010 Iranian authorities reportedly continued to control their movement.
Bin Laden's father Mohammed was killed in 1967 in an airplane crash in Saudi Arabia when his American pilot misjudged a landing. Osama's eldest half-brother, Salem bin Laden, the subsequent head of the bin Laden family, was killed in 1988 near San Antonio, Texas in the United States, when he accidentally flew a plane into power lines.
The FBI described Osama as an adult as tall and thin, between 6 ft. 4 in and 6 ft. 6 in. (193– 198 cm) in height and weighing about 165 pounds (75 kg). Interviewer Lawrence Wright, on the other hand, described him as quite slender, but not particularly tall. Osama had an olive complexion and was left-handed, usually walking with a cane. He wore a plain white turban and he had stopped wearing the traditional Saudi male headdress. Bin Laden was described as soft-spoken and mild mannered in demeanor.

Militant activity:

After leaving college in 1979, bin Laden arrived to Pakistan and joined Abdullah Azzam to take part in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. During Operation Cyclone from 1979 to 1989, the United States provided financial aid and weapons to the mujahideen leaders through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Bin Laden met and built relations with Hamid Gul, who was a three star general in the Pakistani army and head of the ISI agency. Although the United States provided the money and weapons, the training of militant groups was entirely done by the Pakistani Armed Forces and the ISI.
By 1984, bin Laden and Azzam established Maktab al-Khidamat, which funneled money, arms and fighters from around the Arab world into Afghanistan. Through al-Khadamat, bin Laden's inherited family fortune paid for air tickets and accommodation, paid for paperwork with Pakistani authorities and provided other such services for the jihadi fighters. Bin Laden established camps inside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan and used it to train volunteer fighters against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. It was during his time in Pakistan that he began wearing camouflage-print jackets and carrying a Russian-made assault rifle.

Early attacks and aid for attacks:_

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.
It was after this bombing that al-Qaeda was reported to have developed its justification for the killing of innocent people. According to a fatwa issued by Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, the killing of someone standing near the enemy is justified because any innocent bystander will find their proper reward in death, going to Jannah (Paradise) if they were good Muslims and to Jahannam (hell) if they were bad or non-believers. The fatwa was issued to al-Qaeda members but not the general public.
In the 1990s bin Laden's al-Qaeda assisted jihadis financially and sometimes militarily in Algeria, Egypt and Afghanistan. In 1992 or 1993 bin Laden sent an emissary, Qari el-Said, with $40,000 to Algeria to aid the Islamists and urge war rather than negotiation with the government. Their advice was heeded but the war that followed killed 150,000–200,000 Algerians and ended with Islamist surrender to the government.
Bin Laden funded the Luxor massacre of November 17, 1997, which killed 62 civilians, but outraged the Egyptian public. In mid-1997, the Northern Alliance threatened to overrun Jalalabad, causing bin Laden to abandon his Nazim Jihad compound and move his operations to Tarnak Farms in the south.
Another successful attack was carried out in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. Bin Laden helped cement his alliance with the Taliban by sending several hundreds of Afghan Arab fighters along to help the Taliban kill between five and six thousand Hazaras overrunning the city.
In February 1998, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri co-signed a fatwa in the name of the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders which declared the killing of North Americans and their allies an "individual duty for every Muslim" to "liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem] and the holy mosque [in Mecca] from their grip". At the public announcement of the fatwa bin Laden announced that North Americans are "very easy targets". He told the attending journalists, "You will see the results of this in a very short time."
In December 1998, the Director of Central Intelligence Counterterrorist Center reported to President Bill Clinton that al-Qaeda was preparing for attacks in the United States of America, including the training of personnel to hijack aircraft.
Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri organized an al-Qaeda congress on June 24, 1998.
The 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings were a series of attacks that occurred on August 7, 1998, in which hundreds of people were killed in simultaneous truck bomb explosions at the United States embassies in the major East African cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The attacks were linked to local members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, brought Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to the attention of the United States public for the first time, and resulted in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation placing bin Laden on its Ten Most Wanted list.
At the end of 2000, Richard Clarke revealed that Islamic militants headed by bin Laden had planned a triple attack on January 3, 2000 which would have included bombings in Jordan of the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman and tourists at Mount Nebo and a site on the Jordan River, the sinking of the destroyer USS The Sullivans in Yemen, as well as an attack on a target within the United States. The plan was foiled by the arrest of the Jordanian terrorist cell, the sinking of the explosive-filled skiff intended to target the destroyer, and the arrest of Ahmed Ressam.

September 11 attacks:

"God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers, but after the situation became unbearable—and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon—I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed—when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way: to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women."
Osama bin Laden, 2004

After repeated denials, in 2004, Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The attacks involved the hijacking of four commercial passenger aircraft, the subsequent destruction of those planes and the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, severe damage to The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the deaths of 2,974 people and the nineteen hijackers.In response to the attacks, the United States launched a War on Terror to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and capture al-Qaeda operatives, and several countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation to preclude future attacks. The CIA's Special Activities Division was given the lead in tracking down and killing or capturing bin Laden.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stated that classified evidence linking al-Qaeda and bin Laden to the attacks of September 11 is clear and irrefutable. The UK Government reached a similar conclusion regarding al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's culpability for the September 11, 2001 attacks, although the government report notes that the evidence presented is not necessarily sufficient for a prosecutable case.
Bin Laden initially denied involvement in the attacks. On September 16, 2001, bin Laden read a statement later broadcast by Qatar's Al Jazeera satellite channel denying responsibility for the attack.
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. The merits of this translation have been disputed. Arabist Dr. Abdel El M. Husseini stated: "This translation is very problematic. At the most important places where it is held to prove the guilt of bin Laden, it is not identical with the Arabic."
In the 2004 Osama bin Laden video, bin Laden abandoned his denials without retracting past statements. In it he stated he had personally directed the nineteen hijackers. In the 18-minute tape, played on Al-Jazeera, four days before the American presidential election, bin Laden accused U.S. President George W. Bush of negligence on the hijacking of the planes on September 11.
According to the tapes, bin Laden claimed he was inspired to destroy the World Trade Center after watching the destruction of towers in Lebanon by Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War.
In two other tapes aired by Al Jazeera in 2006, Osama bin Laden announces,
I am the one in charge of the nineteen brothers [...] I was responsible for entrusting the nineteen brothers [...] with the raids [5 minute audiotape broadcast May 23, 2006],
and is seen with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, as well as two of the 9/11 hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail al-Shehri, as they make preparations for the attacks (videotape broadcast September 7, 2006)




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