August 10, 2011

Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (play /oʊˈsɑːmə bɪn ˈlɑːdən/; Arabic: أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن‎, ʾUsāmah bin Muḥammad bin ʿAwaḍ bin Lādin; March 10, 1957 – May 2, 2011note a) was the founder of al-Qaeda, the jihadist 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 Yemeni Kindite.

Bin Laden was on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) 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, with a US$25 million bounty by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

After being placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list, bin Laden remained in hiding during three U.S. presidential administrations. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA operatives in a covert operation ordered by United States President Barack Obama. Shortly after his death, bin Laden's body was buried at sea. Al-Qaeda acknowledged his death on May 6, 2011, vowing to retaliate.

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (play /oʊˈsɑːmə bɪn moʊˈhɑːmɨd bɪn əˈwɑːd bɪn ˈlɑːdən/) 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, bin Laden gave his birth date as March 10, 1957.

Mohammed bin Laden divorced Hamida soon after Osama bin Laden was born. Mohammed recommended Hamida to Mohammed al-Attas, an associate. Al-Attas married Hamida in the late 1950s or early 1960s and are still together. The couple had four children, and bin Laden lived in the new household with three half-brothers and one half-sister. The bin Laden family made $5 billion in the construction industry, of which Osama later inherited around $25–30 million.

Bin Laden 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, bin Laden'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 Bernard Montgomery and Charles de Gaulle said to be among his favorites; black stallions; and association football, in which he enjoyed playing at centre forward and followed the fortunes of Arsenal F.C.

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