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Factbox: Attacks leading to 9/11 inspired by Laden’s anti-US campaign

  • Published at 01:54 am September 11th, 2021
9/11 Attack
File Photo: The second tower of the World Trade Centre bursts into flames after being hit by a hijacked airplane in New York on September 11, 2001 Reuters

Bin Laden was finally hunted down by the US Navy SEAL members in a hideout of Abbottabad in Pakistan on May 2, 2011

Guerilla commander Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden and his al-Qaeda had started publicizing against the US and the Saudi royal family in 1991.

The following year, al-Qaeda, formed in 1988, stated that they should put aside differences with Shia Muslim organizations, including Hezbollah, to cooperate against the perceived common enemy – the US and its allies.

They also endorsed that the US forces stationed on the Saudi peninsula, including both Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and the Horn of Africa, including Somalia, should be attacked.

In December 1992, a bomb exploded in a hotel in Aden, Yemen, where US troops had been staying while en route to a humanitarian mission in Somalia, but already left. The bomb killed two Austrian tourists. Two Yemeni citizens, trained in Afghanistan, were later arrested. The US intelligence agencies believe that this was the first terrorist attack involving Bin Laden and his associates.

Also Read: OP-ED: Nostalgia for the days before 9/11

Extremists attacked the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993 killing six people and wounding over 1,000 people in a car bomb explosion in the basement-parking garage below the north tower.

The mastermind of the attack, Ramzi Yousef, was captured in Pakistan and extradited to the US in early 1995. He used to receive funds from Bin Laden, and had stayed at a Bin Laden-financed guest house while in Pakistan.

In October 1993, an attack by Bin Laden’s followers killed 18 US troops in Mogadishu, Somalia.

In August, 1995, Bin Laden wrote an open letter to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia calling for a campaign of guerrilla attacks in order to drive the US forces out of the Kingdom. 

Two months later, five Americans and two Indians were killed in a truck bombing at a US-operated Saudi National Guard training centre in Riyadh. Bin Laden, living in Sudan, denied his involvement but praised the attackers.

In May 1996, four Saudi men accused of bombing the training center were beheaded in Riyadh's main square. Before their execution, they confessed to have been inspired by Bin Laden’s speech.

Also Read: OP-ED: Life and death in the 9/11 century

Bin Laden was forced to leave Sudan in 1996, and he went back to Afghanistan where Taliban had come to power.

On August 23, Bin Laden signed and issued a declaration of jihad (holy war) entitled, "message from Osama Bin Laden to his Muslim brothers in the whole world and especially in the Arabian peninsula: declaration of jihad against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy mosques; expel the heretics from the Arabian peninsula”.

The same year, President Bill Clinton signed a top secret order that authorized the CIA to use any and all means to destroy Bin Laden's network.

In February, 1998, Bin Laden and his close associate Ayman Al Zawahiri endorsed a fatwa under the banner of the “International Islamic Front for Fighting the Jews and Crusaders” stating that Muslims should kill Americans - including civilians - anywhere in the world where they can be found. 

On or about May 7, 1998, Bin Laden endorsed another fatwa issued by the "Ulema Union of Afghanistan" which termed the US Army the "enemies of Islam" and declared jihad against the US and its followers.

On or about May 29, 1998, Bin Laden issued a statement entitled "the nuclear bomb of Islam”, under the banner of the Islamic Front, in which he stated that it is the duty of Muslims to “prepare as much force as possible to terrorize the enemies of God.”

On August 7, 1998, bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania resulted in the deaths of more than 200 people, including 12 American citizens, and injuries to more than 4,000 individuals, among whom were Muslims.

The US government leveled criminal complaints against Bin Laden and 16 of his associates for their involvement in the two bombings and other terrorist crimes. To try him in the US, officials negotiated numerous times with the Taliban asking them to hand him over to them. However, Taliban continued to protect Bin Laden in his base in Jalalabad and paved his way to Pakistan in 1999.

In April 2001, five months before the 9/11 attacks, the US officials wanted to force the Taliban leaders, visiting Qatar for discussions, to try Bin Laden in a third country under an Islamic tribunal. But, the efforts failed.

Bin Laden was finally hunted down by the US Navy SEAL members in a hideout of Abbottabad in Pakistan on May 2, 2011 – nearly 10 years after President George W Bush launched an initiative to expel al-Qaeda from its bases in Afghanistan, kill and capture its operatives, and overthrow the Taliban regime. 

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