Thursday, May 5, 2011

Osama bin Laden: A timeline of terror

OSAMA bin Laden's life from a wealthy and well-educated young Saudi to the world's most wanted terrorist followed a path of destruction.

- 1957: Osama Bin Laden is born to a Syrian mother in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and is reportedly the seventeenth son among 52 brothers and sisters. His father Mohammed Awad bin Laden owns the biggest construction company in the kingdom of South Yemen. He is raised as a devout Wahabbi muslim.
- 1967: Osama Bin Laden's father dies in a Saudi Arabia plane crash when American pilot misjudges the landing.
- 1974: Bin Laden marries, aged 17 for the first time, to a Syrian girl Najwa Ghanem, also Bin Laden’s first cousin. Fathered up to 26 children.
- 1981: Obtains a degree in public administration from King Abdul-Aziz University, Jeddah.
- 1981: Visits mujahdin refugees and fighters in Pakistan who fled the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He begins collecting money and supplies for them.
- 1982: Visits Afghanistan with construction machinery, which he uses to help the mujahadin.
- 1984: Establishes a Peshawar guesthouse in the tribal area of Pakistan, which became the first stop for Arab mujahadin before training or to head to the Afghan front. Also,
helps establish Maktab al-Khadamat, which funnels money, weapons and Muslim fighters into the war.
- 1986: Bin Laden builds command and training camps in Afghanistan and begins leading battles himself.
- 1988: His command complex is dubbed "The Base" or Al-Qa’ida. Eldest half-brother Salem bin Laden dies in a Texas plane crash.
- 1989: Goes to South Yemen, but is banned from travel after warning of an imminent invasion by Saddam Hussein, embarrassing the Yemeni leadership.
- 1990: Offers to bring Arab Mujahadeen to protect South Yemen from attack, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
- 1991: Bin Laden prepared to mobilise his forces, but is disappointed to learn that the US was sending forces to Kuwait. Has his travel restrictions lifted and leaves South Yemen for Pakistan and then Afghanistan, before flying into Sudan in his private jet late that year. Bin Laden is expelled from Saudi Arabi and his citizenship is revoke, and family members disown him.
- 1992: Continues to speak out against Saudi government for harboring American troops, for which the Saudis banished him. Lives in exile in Sudan.On December 29, the first bombing attack alleged to involve bin Laden occurs at a hotel in Yemen. Two people die.
- 1993: Bin Laden linked to the February World Trade Center bombing involving a truck bomb under the north tower.
- 1996: Under increasing diplomatic pressure, Sudan expels bin Laden. Bin Laden flees to eastern Afghanistan with three wives and 10 children. Issues his first anti-American message stating his desire to expel US forces from Arab countries. The Taliban takes control of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, where Bin Laden lives. Taliban leader Mullah Omar offers him protection.
- 1997: Bin Laden conducts TV interviews, including one with CNN in which he declares a holy war against the US. US plans an operation using special forces to kidnap bin Laden from his home in Kandahar. Bin Laden Persuades religious scholars in Afghanistan to sign a fatwah sanctioning "all means” to expel US forces from the Arab peninsula.
- 1998: Forms the International Islamic Front, a loose coalition of extremists from Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh, calling on a "fatwah" which sanctions the killing of Jews and Americans. The US Navy launches a missile attack on bin Laden’s training camps at Khost in Afghanistan, missing him by a few hours. In April he speaks to the US ABC, and a fortnight later warns of an impending attack. In July the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania are bombed within minutes of each other, leaving 224 people dead. Is listed among the FBI’s ten most wanted terrorists.
- 2000: Linked to an October terrorist attack on the warship USS Cole. Operatives working for the CIA attack a bin Laden convoy with a rocket propelled grenade. It is revealed Islamic militants headed by bin Laden planned attacks that would have included bombings in Jordan of the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman as well as the sinking of destroyer USS The Sullivans in Yemen and attacks within the US.
- 11 September 2001: Almost 3000 are killed when the World Trade Center’s twin towers are destroyed by hijacked commercial airlines deliberately crashed into the upper floors. The buildings collapsed and New York’s Manhattan Island is evacuated. Another airliner crashes into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. causing major damage. A third plane crashes in rural Pennsylvania when passengers rise up against the terrorists. The US launches a War on Terror to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and capture al-Qaida operatives.
US government officials name bin Laden and al-Qaida as the prime suspects and offer a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or death.Later that year it is wrongly reported bin Laden has died of lung complications.
- 2002: Maintains a low profile but makes headlines when Al-Jazeera broadcasts two audio tapes.
- 2003: Al-Jazeera broadcasts another bin Laden tape urging Muslims and Islamic nations to fight against any US-led attack on Iraq.
- 2003: Two sons are believed captured after a raid in southwestern Afghanistan.
- 2004: bin Laden formally claims responsibility for the World Trade Center attack. Al-Jazeera broadcasts a tape by bin Laden in which he claims the US operation in Iraq is part of a plan to control Arab oil reserves. The US House of Representatives votes unanimously to double the reward for bin Laden 's capture to $50 million.
- 2005: Speculation is raised about whether Bin Laden is alive or dead
- 2006: More recordings of bin Laden appear, showing preparations for the September 11 attacks.
- 2007: US and Afghan forces raid mountain caves after news of an Al-Qa’ida meeting there, but bin Laden is not found.
- 2009: Terror Rohan Gunaratna says captured Al-Qa’ida leaders confirmed Bin Laden had been hiding in the picturesque and mountainous Chitral
- 2010: Separate reports out of Israeli intelligence sources suggest Bin Laden had been hiding in Savzevar in Iran’s north east. The FBI publishes "aged progressed'' mug shots of bin Laden as their hunt continues. The release come despite continued speculation he is already dead.
- 2011: US forces kill Osama bin Laden in a military strike on a compound in Abbottabad, about 150km north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad

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