My Son, Osama, The Al-Qaida leader’s Mother

Bin Laden Timeline:

  • 1957: Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His parents separate, and his father dies in a helicopter crash in 1969. He studies in Jeddah, before going to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan, where he forms his armed brigade
  • 1988: Founds al-Qaeda, meaning “the base.”
  • 1989: Returns to Saudi Arabia after the Soviets withdraw. He is expelled, and he and his followers go to Sudan, then later return to Afghanistan
  • 1993: His family expels him as a shareholder in the family businesses, and the Saudi government revokes his citizenship.
  • 1996: Declares war on US forces
  • 1998: Issues a joint fatwa with other Islamists espousing a religious authorisation for indiscriminate killing of Americans and Jews around the world. Deadly attacks in US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam are blamed on al-Qaeda. The US authorises air strikes on his compound in Afghanistan. He begins to move around more frequently to stay safe
  • 2000: Seventeen US sailors are killed in an attack on the USS Cole destroyer in a Yemeni port
  • 2001: Four US commercial airliners are hijacked by 19 followers. Two destroy New York’s World Trade Centre and a third hit the Pentagon. The fourth crashes in Pennsylvania killing everyone on board. Nearly 3,000 civilians are killed. George W Bush says Bin Laden is “wanted dead or alive” and launches attacks on Afghanistan
  • 2002-2010: Thought to have escaped into Pakistan in late 2001. Footage and recordings of Bin Laden are intermittently released by al-Qaeda throughout the decade as the US continues hunting him
  • 2011: US Navy Seals raid his compound in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad and shoot him. Four other people in the compound are also killed. Bin Laden is buried at sea after an Islamic funeral on a US aircraft carrier. Credit: The BBC, 3 August 2018.

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