Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden was a Saudi citizen and co-founder and leader of al-Qaeda, notorious for orchestrating the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Throughout his three-decade-long jihadist career, bin Laden oversaw the planning of numerous largescale terrorist attacks, established a network of al-Qaeda-linked businesses and operatives, and united terrorist groups from the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia. Between 1996 and 2001, he lived in Afghanistan under the protection of the ruling Taliban and its leader Mullah Omar. He was killed on May 2, 2011, in a shootout with U.S. Navy SEALS at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Bin Laden is succeeded by current al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri.“TEXT: US GRAND JURY INDICTMENT AGAINST USAMA BIN LADEN,” United States District Court Southern District of New York, November 6, 1998, https://fas.org/irp/news/1998/11/98110602_nlt.html;
Peter Baker, Helene Cooper, Mark Mazzetti, “Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says,” New York Times, May 1, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/world/asia/osama-bin-laden-is-killed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
Bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin laden, is a key al-Qaeda operative.“The Hunt For Osama’s Son Hamza Bin Laden,” Daily Beast, May 11, 2011, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/05/11/hamza-bin-laden-the-hunt-for-osamas-son-who-escaped-the-raid.html;
Rohan Smith, “Hamza bin Laden’s rise through the ranks of the world’s most infamous terror family,” news.au, July 12, 2016, http://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/hamza-bin-ladens-rise-through-the-ranks-of-the-worlds-most-infamous-terror-family/news-story/5d0487c485617a9b4d07cae9bb1a1691.

Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1957, Osama bin Laden was the 17th of 54 children fathered by Saudi billionaire Mohammed bin Laden. The elder bin Laden, an immigrant from Yemen, was the head of a successful construction firm—building many of the palaces and major roads in the kingdom as well as renovating Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque. Osama’s mother, Hamida al-Attas, came from a prominent Syrian Alawite family and was Mohammed bin Laden’s tenth wife. Osama’s parents divorced soon after he was born, and his father died in a plane crash when he was five years old. Nevertheless, Osama would later work for and inherit millions from his father’s business empire.Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 75, 84; Victory D. Comras, Flawed Diplomacy: The United Nations & the War on Terrorism, (Washington D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc., 2010), 36.

In high school bin Laden joined the Saudi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and read the extremist texts of influential Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb. Bin Laden’s friend at the time, Jamal Khalifa, later said that Qutb “was the one who most affected [his and bin Laden’s] generation.”Alastair Finlan, The Test of Terrorism: Responding to Political Violence in the Twenty-First Century, (London: Routledge: 2015); Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 90-92. In his books, Qutb called for an Islamic “vanguard” to take up jihad against secular governments and eventually resurrect the caliphate. Qutb also re-popularized the Islamic concept of takfir, which permits the labeling of fellow Muslims as apostates, thus justifying their persecution and murder.Alastair Finlan, The Test of Terrorism: Responding to Political Violence in the Twenty-First Century, (London: Routledge: 2015).

In 1974, bin Laden—then a deeply pious 18-year-old—married his 14-year old Syrian cousin. Bin Laden would go on to marry two more women and father at least 23 children.“The life and death of Osama bin Laden,” Washington Post, May 2, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/world/timeline-life-of-osama-bin-laden/. Between 1976 and 1979, bin Laden studied economics at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. There, he formed a religious charity on campus, whose members “devoted a lot of time to interpreting the Quran and jihad,” according to bin Laden’s own account.Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 90. It was also at that University that bin Laden met Abdullah Azzam, a renowned Palestinian scholar and a professor at the school. Azzam, often referred to as the father of modern jihad, would serve as a spiritual mentor to bin Laden and eventually become a co-founder of al-Qaeda.Aryn Baker, “Who Killed Abdullah Azzam?” Time, June 18, 2009, http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1902809_1902810_1905173-1,00.html;
Asaf Maliach, “Abdullah Azzam, Al-Qaeda, and Hamas,” Institute for National Security Studies, October 2010, Volume 2, No. 2, http://www.inss.org.il/uploadimages/Import/(FILE)1298359986.pdf.

Bin Laden reportedly traveled to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border within two weeks of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 55, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf;
Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 109.
Bin laden acted as a visiting envoy, meeting various militant leaders and devising ways to raise funds for the mujahideen (“holy warriors”). In the early-mid 1980s, he traveled back and forth between Saudi Arabia, where he implored wealthy family members to financially support the Afghan jihad. Bin Laden also brought construction machinery and Arab recruits into Afghanistan, and provided the fighters with logistical and humanitarian aid.Kate Zernike and Michael T. Kaufman, “The Most Wanted Face of Terrorism,” New York Times, May 2, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/world/02osama-bin-laden-obituary.html; “Osama Bin Laden: A Chronology of His Political Life,” PBS Frontline, accessed March 15, 2015, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html. Bin Laden’s former professor, Abdullah Azzam, arrived in Peshawar in late 1981, and the two men worked closely to recruit, train, and equip Arab fighters for the jihad.Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 111.

In September 1984, bin Laden and Azzam decided to create a formal role for Arabs and other foreign, (including Western), fighters in Afghanistan. The pair soon established the Services Bureau (Makhtab al-Khadamat)—an office, printing center, funds repository, and hostel for foreign mujahideen. Bin Laden also began to offer plane tickets, residences, and living expenses for the men, and by 1986 was believed to be paying $25,000 per month to subsidize the fighters.Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 117-119.

In 1987, bin Laden met Ayman al-Zawahiri for the first time, in Pakistan.“Timeline of al-Zawahiri,” CNN, June 16, 2011, http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/16/timeline-of-al-zawahiri/. At the time, Zawahiri, an Egyptian doctor, was a key leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ)—a jihadist group responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.“Timeline of al-Zawahiri,” CNN, June 16, 2011, http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/16/timeline-of-al-zawahiri/. Bin Laden and Zawahiri quickly developed a close working relationship, and co-founded al-Qaeda (“the base”) in August 1988 alongside several other Islamist operatives, including Azzam.“Egyptian Islamic Jihad,” Mapping Militant Organizations, last modified October 26, 2015, http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/401;
“A history of terror: Al-Qaeda 1988-2008,” Guardian (London), July 12, 2008, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jul/13/history.alqaida;
“Tareekhosama/50/Tareekh Osama 122-123,” Intelwire.com, February 24, 2009, http://intelfiles.egoplex.com/1988-08-11-al-qaeda-founding.pdf;
Arabina Acharya, Ten Years After 9/11: Rethinking the Jihadist Threat, (London and New York: Routledge, 2013) 36.
The secretary at the meeting noted that “al-Qaeda is basically an organized Islamic faction, its goal is to lift the word of God, to make His religion victorious.”Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 152;
Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, (New York: Random House, 2002), 103;
“Origins of Al Qaeda,” Global Issues on Terrorism, accessed May 1, 2017, https://sites.stedwards.edu/craigc-culf331111fa2014/group-middle-east-and-north-africa/origins-of-al-qaeda/.

Within a year, however, disagreements arose between bin Laden and Azzam on al-Qaeda’s trajectory. While Azzam envisioned bringing the fight to Israel after Afghanistan, bin Laden preferred to prioritize targeting of the United States and Arab regimes such as the Saudi government.Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, (New York: Random House, 2002), 103;
“Origins of Al Qaeda,” Global Issues on Terrorism, accessed May 1, 2017, https://sites.stedwards.edu/craigc-culf331111fa2014/group-middle-east-and-north-africa/origins-of-al-qaeda/.
The disagreement ended when Azzam was killed in Peshawar on November 24, 1989.Aryn Baker, “Who Killed Abdullah Azzam?,” Time, June 18, 2009, http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1902809_1902810_1905173-1,00.html. Zawahiri continued to direct EIJ until it was finally merged with al-Qaeda in 2001. (According to some analysts, the EIJ-al-Qaeda merger occurred in 1998. Others note that it began in 1998 and was finalized in 2001).

After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989, bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia emboldened by the perceived triumph of the mujahideen over the Soviets. While working at his father’s construction firm in Saudi Arabia, bin Laden was approached about moving his nascent al-Qaeda to Sudan by Hassan al-Turabi—the then-secretary general of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 57, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf;
“Timeline: Al Qaeda’s Global Context,” PBS Frontline, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/knew/etc/cron.html;
Lawrence Joffe, “Hassan al-Turabi obituary,” Guardian (London), March 11, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/11/hassan-al-turabi-obituary.
Turabi proposed allowing bin Laden use Sudan as al-Qaeda’s base in exchange for the building of roads and support in the ongoing war against Christian separatists in Southern Sudan.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 57, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. Bin Laden would not relocate to Sudan until late 1991.“Osama Bin Laden: A Chronology of His Political Life,” PBS Frontline, accessed March 15, 2015, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html.

In August 1990, as U.S. forces arrived in Saudi Arabia to prepare for the first Gulf War, bin Laden urged Saudi King Fahd to expel the Americans and instead allow the veterans of the Afghan war to defend the Arabian Peninsula. King Fahd declined bin Laden’s offer in favor of U.S. and allied forces.Andrew Wander, “A History of Terror: Al-Qaeda 1988-2008,” Guardian (London), July 12, 2008, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jul/13/history.alqaida. Enraged, bin Laden began to publicly rebuke the monarchy for its alliance with the United States, prompting Saudi Arabia to expel him in April 1991. Bin Laden fled to Afghanistan, and then accepted Sudanese leader Hassan al-Turabi’s offer—arriving in Sudan by 1992.“Osama Bin Laden: A Chronology of His Political Life,” PBS Frontline, accessed March 15, 2015, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html. There, he established legitimate businesses and began to build out the al-Qaeda network.“Osama Bin Laden: A Chronology of His Political Life,” PBS Frontline, accessed March 15, 2015, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html.

The first attack orchestrated by bin Laden and his associates occurred on December 19, 1992, when a bomb exploded in a hotel room in Aden, Yemen, killing two Australian tourists. Bin Laden had intended for the explosion to kill a unit of U.S. soldiers, but those troops had already left the premises.“Osama Bin Laden: A Chronology of His Political Life,” PBS Frontline, accessed March 15, 2015, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html. Attacks perpetrated by al-Qaeda operatives and like-minded jihadist increased in the following years. On February 26, 1993, Ramzi Yousef—a Pakistani terrorist not directly linked to al-Qaeda—carried out the Word Trade Center bombing, killing six people and injuring over 1,000 others. While bin Laden praised Yousef’s bombing, he is not believed to have played a role in the attack.Robert Windrem, “Al-Qaida timeline: Plots and attacks,” MSNBC Research and NBC News, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4677978/ns/world_news-hunt_for_al_qaida/t/al-qaida-timeline-plots-attacks/#.WN61y28rKpo.

In April 1994, the Saudi government revoked bin Laden’s citizenship and froze his assets. Undeterred, bin Laden continued to grow his operations, establishing training camps for foreign fighters in Yemen near the Saudi border, according to U.S. intelligence sources.“Osama Bin Laden: A Chronology of His Political Life,” PBS Frontline, accessed March 15, 2015, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html;
“TEXT: US GRAND JURY INDICTMENT AGAINST USAMA BIN LADEN,” United States District Court, Southern District of New York, November 6, 1998, https://fas.org/irp/news/1998/11/98110602_nlt.html.
Meanwhile, the United States and Saudi Arabia began to pressure Sudan to expel bin Laden, citing his danger to the international community. In May 1996, Turabi reportedly gave bin Laden the choice to stay in Sudan and keep his operations quiet, or to leave the country altogether. Bin Laden opted to relocate his growing jihadist movement, and moved to Afghanistan shortly thereafter.Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 252-253; “TEXT: US GRAND JURY INDICTMENT AGAINST USAMA BIN LADEN,” United States District Court, Southern District of New York, November 6, 1998, https://fas.org/irp/news/1998/11/98110602_nlt.html;
“Osama Bin Laden: A Chronology of His Political Life,” PBS Frontline, accessed March 15, 2015, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html.

The Taliban controlled much of Afghanistan by the time bin Laden arrived. The group’s leader, Mullah Omar, allowed bin Laden to settle his family and operatives in the eastern city of Jalalabad. Bin Laden would later pledge allegiance to Mullah Omar in late August or early September 1998, forming a bond between the groups that persists to this day.Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, (New York: Random House, 2011), 254-255, 326.

Bin Laden issued his first fatwa soon after arriving in Afghanistan. The statement, titled “Declaration of War Against the Americans Who Occupy the Land of the Two Holy Mosques,” was published by London’s Al Quds al Arabi newspaper on August 23, 1996. In it, bin Laden called on Muslims to force the U.S. military out of the Arabian Peninsula; dethrone the Saudi government; punish the U.S. and its allies for their “Crusade” against Islam; and liberate Muslim holy sites.“Bin Laden’s Fatwa,” PBS Newshour, August 23, 1996, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/military-july-dec96-fatwa_1996/;
“Osama bin Laden v. the U.S.: Edits and Statements,” PBS Frontline, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/edicts.html;
“Timeline: Osama bin Laden, over the years,” CNN, May 2, 2011, http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/02/osama.timeline/.
Soon after the fatwa’s publication, bin Laden was visited by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM)—the uncle of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef. KSM appealed to bin Laden for funds and material to carry out a largescale attack in the United States. Bin Laden agreed to front the funds and asked KSM to join al-Qaeda, though KSM politely declined, deciding to operate independently.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 147, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

Bin Laden would continue to issue fatwas and orchestrate largescale attacks against U.S. targets. In February 1998, he released his second fatwa—“Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders”—in which he declared it a duty for Muslims to carry out jihad against Islam’s enemies and to expel Americans from the Gulf region.“Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders,” Federation of American Scientists, February 23, 1998, https://fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/980223-fatwa.htm. That August, al-Qaeda carried out its then-largest attack when operatives targeted the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The explosions in Nairobi killed 213 people—nearly all Kenyans and 12 Americans—and injured approximately 5,000 others. In Dar es Salaam, the bombs killed 11 people, none of them Americans.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 70, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. Three months later, in November 1998, bin Laden was indicted by a U.S. Federal Grand Jury in New York for engaging in a long-term conspiracy to attack U.S. facilities overseas and to kill American citizens.“TEXT: US GRAND JURY INDICTMENT AGAINST USAMA BIN LADEN,” United States District Court, Southern District of New York, November 6, 1998, https://fas.org/irp/news/1998/11/98110602_nlt.html;
Bill Mears, “Bin Laden charges formally dropped,” CNN, June 17, 2011, http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/06/17/bin.laden.charges/.
At around the same time he was indicted in New York, bin Laden met with KSM in Pakistan and officially approved his plot to weaponize airplanes and crash them into buildings in the United States. The 9/11 plot had begun to take form.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 149; 167, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

In November 1999, bin Laden received four visitors—Mohamed Atta, Marwan al Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh. The men were members of an al-Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, and were eager to partake in a terrorist attack against the United States. After swearing fealty to bin Laden, the men were instructed to enroll in flight training schools in the West. Bin Laden selected Atta to lead the cell, and revealed to him al-Qaeda’s top targets in the United States: the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the U.S. Capitol. Atta, Shehhi, and Jarrah would become hijacker-pilots in the 9/11 attacks, whereas Shibh would serve as a key facilitator in the attacks.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 166; 242, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. Shibh is currently held by the United States as an enemy combatant at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.“Ramzi Bin al Shibh: Guantanamo Docket,” New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/guantanamo/detainees/10013-ramzi-bin-al-shibh.

On October 12, 2000, in al-Qaeda’s last largescale attack before 9/11, two al-Qaeda suicide bombers steered a small boat laden with 400 to 700 pounds of explosives into the port side of the USS Cole while it refueled in Aden port, Yemen. The explosion killed 17 U.S. sailors.“USS Cole Bombing Fast Facts,” CNN, October 6, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/18/world/meast/uss-cole-bombing-fast-facts/. The attack was masterminded by al-Qaeda operative Abd Rahim al-Nashiri upon instructions from bin Laden to target U.S. warships in Yemen’s southern port of Aden.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): [152], http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf.

On September 11, 2001, nineteen al-Qaeda operatives hijacked U.S. commercial airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth hijacked airplane crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 civilians were killed and thousands more injured.“Timeline: Al-Qaeda,” BBC News, September 4, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3618762.stm. Within weeks, the U.S. launched military operations against al-Qaeda’s suspected safe havens in Afghanistan. That December, bin Laden is believed to have escaped U.S. bombing in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora Mountains and fled to Pakistan.Kate Zernike and Michael T. Kaufman, “The Most Wanted Face of Terrorism,” New York Times, May 2, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/world/02osama-bin-laden-obituary.html.

Bin Laden did not claim responsibility for the 9/11 attacks until October 2004, when he appeared in a video released by Al Jazeera.“Bin Laden: 'Your security is in your own hands,'” CNN, October 29, 2004, http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/29/bin.laden.transcript/. “We should destroy towers in America [because] we are a free people…and we want to regain the freedom of our nation,” bin Laden reasoned. The al-Qaeda leader further said that America might avoid another 9/11-style attack if it stopped compromising the “security” of Muslims, warning, “As you undermine our security we undermine yours.”“Bin Laden claims responsibility for 9/11,” CBC News, October 29, 2004, http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/bin-laden-claims-responsibility-for-9-11-1.513654;
“Bin Laden Claims Responsibility for 9/11,” Fox News, October 30, 2004, http://www.foxnews.com/story/2004/10/30/bin-laden-claims-responsibility-for-11.html.

Bin Laden is believed to have settled in a compound in Abbottabad during the 2000s, though there is little publically available information on his whereabouts during this time. In 2009, the U.S. government announced that the al-Qaeda leader was most likely living on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, but conceded that it had a “lack of intelligence” regarding his exact location.“Osama bin Laden Fast Facts,” CNN, May 2, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/30/world/osama-bin-laden-fast-facts/. Living as an elusive fugitive, bin Laden was still able to release videos threatening the West and claim responsibility for al-Qaeda-linked attacks. In January 2010, bin Laden claimed responsibility for the failed bombing of a civilian airliner over Detroit, Michigan, on December 25, 2009. Perpetrated by “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the attack had been planned by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.Scott Shane and Eric Lipton, “Passengers’ Quick Action Halted Attack,” New York Times, December 26, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/us/27plane.html.

In the early morning of May 2, 2011, a small team of U.S. Navy SEALS entered the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was living and killed the 54-year-old al-Qaeda leader in a shootout. His body was given an Islamic burial at sea within 24 hours. In a televised statement on the night of May 2, President Obama referred to bin Laden as al-Qaeda’s “leader and symbol” and warned that bin Laden’s death did “not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al-Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us.”Peter Baker, Helene Cooper, Mark Mazzetti, “Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says,” New York Times, May 1, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/world/asia/osama-bin-laden-is-killed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0;
“Osama bin Laden Fast Facts,” CNN, May 2, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/30/world/osama-bin-laden-fast-facts/.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, previously al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, was elevated to leader of the international terror group six weeks after bin Laden’s death. Zawahiri has vowed to continue waging jihad against “crusader America and its servant Israel, and whoever supports them.”“Al-Qaeda’s remaining leaders,” BBC news, June 16, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-11489337.

 
Return to Full Database

Take action:

Help Counter Extremism

Stay updated on the latest

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

God forbid, if a time comes when we have no choice but to watch our citizens breathe their final breaths, and when there are no ventilators… we will make six million Israeli settlers unable to breathe.

Yahya Sinwar, Leader of Hamas in Gaza Apr. 2, 2020
View Archive

CEP on Twitter