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Osama bin Laden

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AQ00100

Osama bin Laden.

Osama bin Laden was a radical Sunni Muslim, and the leader of al Qaeda, a worldwide terrorist group responsible for September 11, 2001 attacks and some other terrorist attacks on Americans in the 1990s, and other attacks on innocent civilians in Europe and Asia.

Bin Laden was an Arab from from a Yemeni family that made a fortune in construction in Saudi Arabia. His father Mohammed Awad bin Laden disinherited him; indeed most of his family members became his enemies. He went to Afghanistan with his network of Arab allies to fight against the Soviets in the Soviet-Afghan War. He was never aided or funded by the U.S. or the CIA.

In Osama bin Laden's declarations and writings, he asserted that American attacks against Muslims justified reciprocation by Muslims, including the killing of innocents as a part of militaristic jihad. He referred to Islamic states headed by individuals friendly to the United States as usurper states which were disloyal to Islam.

Bin Laden and his followers were based in war-torn Sudan for most of the 1990s at the invitation of Hassan al-Turabi, a powerful Sudanese political leader and terrorism supporter. In the late 1990s bin Laden issued two fatwahs (declarations of holy war) against the United States for the basing of troops in the Arabian Peninsula to defend against external aggression by Saddam Hussein and because of the suffering of the Iraqi people under UN economic sanctions.[1]

In 1998, bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, then leader of the Egyptian terrorist group called the Islamic Brotherhood, announced the joining of al Qaeda and the Islamic Brotherhood to form the World Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders[2]. In 1998, the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were destroyed by suicide bombers; the United States later indicted both bin Laden and al-Zawahiri for the attacks which killed 224 people. In retaliation the United States launched cruise missiles, however, both terrorist leaders escaped. They then fled to Afghanistan, where al Qaeda set up camps that were protected by the Taliban government. When the Taliban refused to turn al Qaeda terrorists over to justice, NATO invaded and liberated Afghanistan in Oct. 2001. Bin Laden was almost captured but escaped to Pakistan.

In the 1990s, bin Laden also gave funding to Chechen terrorists fighting against Russia[3]. These terrorists were later responsible for the Beslan school siege of 2004. Chechens also fought in Afghanistan against U.S. forces on behalf of the Taliban[4].

On May 2, 2011, Osama Bin laden was killed. His hideout was attacked by US Navy SEALS. The SEALs encountered the residents in the compound's guest house, in the main building on the first floor where two adult males lived, and on the second and third floors where bin Laden lived with his family. The second and third floors were the last section of the compound to be cleared.There were reportedly "small knots of children...on every level, including the balcony of bin Laden's room". The SEALs encountered bin Laden on the third floor of the main building.

Bin Laden was "wearing the local loose-fitting tunic and pants known as a kurta paijama", which were later found to have €500 and two phone numbers sewn into the fabric.  Bin Laden peered over the third floor ledge at the Americans advancing up the stairs, and then retreated into his room. As the SEALs approached, bin Laden placed one his wives between himself and the commandos, pushing her towards them. A SEAL fired several shots at bin Laden's head, and he fell back into his room. Inside the bedroom, bin Laden lay on the floor with a head wound as two of his wives stood over him.One of them, Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah, screamed at the SEALs in Arabic and motioned as if she were about to charge. One of the SEALs shot her in the leg, then grabbed both women and shoved them aside. A second SEAL entered the room and two SEALs shot bin Laden in the chest with a H&K 416 using Navy M855 5.56 mm rounds.The SEAL team leader radioed, "For God and country, I pass Geronimo, Geronimo E.K.I.A." (enemy killed in action) confirmation that bin Laden was dead to Admiral McCraven. Watching the operation in the White House Situation Room, President Obama said, "We got him."

His body was taken and identified in Afghanistan. He was buried at sea twenty-fgour hours after his death.

Further reading

  • Randal, Jonathan. Osama: The Making of a Terrorist (2004). 339 pp.

References

  1. bin Laden's Declaration of War, 1998.
  2. http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jir/jir011003_1_n.shtml
  3. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/DJ29Ag05.html
  4. http://muslimvillage.net/story.php?id=370
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