By Ria Novosti
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. military operation with at least 44 U.S. SEALs sent in to capture Terrorist Number 1.
According to preliminary reports of the shootout, the al Qaeda leader was shot in the head while hiding behind a woman during the operation. The unidentified woman and three men, one believed to be bin Laden’s son, were also killed in the operation that lasted several minutes.
U.S. President Barack Obama made the announcement of bin Laden’s death late on Sunday night in a televised statement to the nation.
The following are facts about bin Laden’s life.
Osama bin Laden was born on March 10, 1957, in the city of Jidda, Saudi Arabia, and was the 17th of 52 children born to Mohammed bin Laden, a multi-millionaire and construction magnate, who died in 1968 during a helicopter crash.
In 1968-1976 Osama bin Laden studied at Al Thagher Model School, and then entered the King Abdel Aziz University in Jidda where he studied economics and government.
In the mid-1970s, bin Laden was married to his second cousin. Later he married three more women. According to different sources bin Laden has between 12 and 24 children.
In the early 1980s, bin Laden joined up with a Palestinian insurgent, Abdullah Azzam, and created the Maktab al-Khidamat Organization to recruit, give military training and then send Arabs to Afghanistan to fight on the side of Afghan insurgents against Soviet troops.
In 1986-1988, bin Laden fought in Afghanistan.
In 1988, bin Laden founded al Qaeda (in Arabic – “base”), a military transnational network whose main goal was to help Arabs fighting in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union.
In 1991, he moved to Sudan and worked in the construction business.
In 1994, Saudi Arabia stripped bin Laden of his Saudi citizenship.
In 1996, bin Laden left Sudan for Afghanistan.
In February 1998, bin Laden gave a religious order under the auspices of the Worldwide Islamic Front of Jihad against Jews and Christians, under which Muslims were obliged to kill Americans and their allies.
Bin Laden is suspected in several large terrorist acts, including an explosion at the World Trade Center in New York on February 26, 1993, a car bombing in Riyadh on November 13, 1995, and detonating a truck near a U.S. Air Force Base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in June 1996.
On August 7, 1998, bin Laden was suspected of organizing two terrorist acts at the U.S. embassies in Nairobi (Kenya) and Dar es-Salaam (Tanzania), which killed more than 200 people. He was put on the FBI’s most wanted list.
On September 11, 2001, terrorists crashed two passenger jets into the World Trade Center in New York and another jet slammed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth passenger jet crashed in Pennsylvania, the alleged target was the White House. All together, 2,819 people from 80 countries died in the terrorist acts. Al Qaeda took responsibility for the terrorist act.
At the end of 2001, U.S.-led allied forces entered Afghanistan, bombing the caves of Tora Bora, where bin Laden was thought to have holed up. After these bombings, it was announced that bin Laden had been killed.
Later it became apparent that bin Laden was not killed and he slipped across the border into neighboring Pakistan.
In May 2004, the Pakistani Army began a large-scale operation near the Afghan border to capture bin Laden; however, one year on the Pakistani government announced it had failed to find the terrorist.
On September 23, 2006, a French newspaper, L’Est Republicain, reported that bin Laden had died of typhoid fever in Pakistan. Several foreign governments later refuted the claim.
In November 2008, Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto announced that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed.
In November 2008 CIA Director Michael Hayden said bin Laden was hiding out somewhere on the border of Pakistan and was no longer involved in the daily business of al Qaeda.
In December 2009, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted that U.S. intelligence services have had no idea where bin Laden was for several years.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations promised a $25 million reward for information leading to the arrest of bin Laden. An additional $2 million was added to the bounty by the Airline Pilots Association and Air Transport Association.
On May 2, 2011, U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden 50 kilometers outside Islamabad in the city of Abbottabad, Pakistan. Besides the al Qaeda leader four other individuals, including one woman, were killed in the military operation. No U.S. troops were killed.