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Osama Bin Laden

1957
Osama bin Laden is born in Saudi Arabia. He is the 17th of 52 children of construction magnate Muhammad Awad bin Laden, an immigrant from neighboring Yemen, who runs a construction company, the Saudi bin Laden Group. His mother, one of four wives of Muhammad bin Laden, was Syrian by some accounts, Palestinian by others.

His father dies in a helicopter accident when bin Laden is 10. He eventually inherits a share of the family fortune. Bin Laden marries for the first time at age 17 to a Syrian cousin. He attends King Abdul Aziz University in Jidda, where one of his teachers is Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian who played a large role in the resurgence of Islamic religiosity.




1989
After the Soviets pull out of Afghanistan, bin Laden returns to Saudi Arabia to work for the family construction firm. He uses his network to raise funds for veterans of the Afghan war.




1991
Bin Laden is expelled from Saudi Arabia due to his anti-government activities. He takes refuge in Sudan. Eventually, Saudi Arabia revokes his citizenship, and his family disowns him as well.








1995
A truck bombing at a military base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, kills five Americans and two Indians.





1998
Bin Laden declares that Muslims should kill Americans, civilians included, wherever they can find them.

On August 7, a pair of truck bombs explodes outside the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 224 people.

On August 20, U.S. President Clinton orders cruise missile attacks against suspected terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, that he says is involved in making weapons.

In November, the United States indicts bin Laden on charges of masterminding the attacks on the U.S. embassies




2001
In February, bin Laden appears in public at his son's wedding in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where the Taliban's spiritual leader lives.

Four of bin Laden's alleged supporters are convicted May 29 of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa.

Following the September 11 terrorism attacks in the United States, the U.S. government names bin Laden as a prime suspect.




2003
As bin Laden calls Muslims across the world to set aside their differences and join in the "blessed and thankful jihad," London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Sharq Al Awsat reports, talks of another possible war heat up among U.S. and coalition forces focused on the activities of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. In February, Al-Jazeera broadcasts a bin Laden audio tape urging Muslims and Islamic nations to fight against any U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

Days before the March 19 U.S.-led coalition attack on Iraq, the Associated Press and Reuters news services report that a Pakistani provincial leader said two of Osama bin Laden's sons were in U.S. custody after a raid in southwestern Afghanistan near Rabat. Six months later, messages from al Qaeda and bin Laden surfaced at Arab news organizations. The CIA cited some of the messages as having specific references to recent events, leaving the question of whether or not bin Laden is alive unanswered.







1979
The young bin Laden goes to Afghanistan to help Afghan resistance fighters, known as the mujahedeen, repel the Soviet invasion of the country. Abdullah Azzam founds an organization to provide assistance to the mujahedeen. Bin Laden becomes the chief financier of the organization, which evolves into a group known as al Qaeda (the base). The Arabs assisting the mujahedeen become known as "Arab Afghans."







1990
The Saudi government allows U.S. troops to be stationed in Saudi Arabia following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which leads to the Persian Gulf War. Bin Laden is outraged by the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, considered the cradle of Islam, and begins to write treatises against the Saudi regime




1993
In February, a bomb at the World Trade Center kills six and wounds hundreds. Six Muslim radicals, who U.S. officials suspect have links to bin Laden, are eventually convicted for the bombing.

In October, 18 U.S. servicemen who are part of a humanitarian mission to Somalia are killed in an ambush in Mogadishu. Bin Laden later says that some of the Arab Afghans were involved in the killings and calls Americans "paper tigers" because they withdrew from Somalia shortly after the soldiers' deaths.




1996
Under pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia, the Sudanese expel bin Laden from the country. Bin Laden moves with his 10 children and three wives (he is rumored to have since added a fourth) to Afghanistan.

Bin Laden declares a jihad, or holy war, against U.S. forces.

Nineteen U.S. soldiers die in a bombing of the Khobar military complex in Saudi Arabia.

The United States indicts bin Laden on charges of training the people involved in the 1993 attack that killed 18 U.S. servicemen in Somalia.




2000
Algerian Ahmed Ressam pleads guilty in connection with a failed plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during the millennium celebrations. He claims he was trained in urban warfare and explosives at an Afghanistan camp run by bin Laden.



2002
The U.S.-led military operation progresses as the Taliban falls. The allied forces increase ground troops flanked by air support in an effort to rout out hold-out al Qaeda forces. In March, the battle intensifies in the mountainous terrain of eastern Afghanistan, where reports say bin Laden is located and, according to some, directing troops.

Despite claims of success, U.S. officials say they have no proof that bin Laden died in the operation -- an assertion repeated by al Qaeda members and an Arabic-language magazine editor in June.

Bin Laden maintains a low profile in spring and summer 2002 but makes headlines again in the fall when Al-Jazeera broadcasts two audio tapes featuring what U.S. intelligence officals say are most likely authentic recordings of bin Laden's voice.



2004
On January 4, Al-Jazeera broadcasts audiotape that CIA officials say is likely a recent recording of bin Laden. On the tape, bin Laden says the U.S. occupation of Iraq is the beginning of an occupation of Persian Gulf states to control their oil reserves.

In March, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation airs a two-part documentary about life with bin Laden, featuring Abdurahman Kahadr, a 21-year-old Canadian whose family lived in bin Laden 's compound from 1996 - 2001. The same month, defense officials say U.S. forces in Afghanistan will intensify search operations near the Pakistan border, preparing for a broader offensive to hunt down al Qaeda fugitives, including Osama bin Laden. The U.S. House of Representatives votes unanimously March 18 to double the reward for bin Laden 's capture to $50 million.




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