Osama bin Laden (March 10, 1957 – May 2, 2011), was a founder of the pan-Islamic militant organization, al-Qaeda. He was a Saudi Arabian until 1994 (stateless thereafter), a member of the wealthy bin Laden family, and an ethnic Yemeni Kindite.
Bin Laden's father was Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire from Hadhramaut, Yemen and the founder of the construction company, Saudi Binladin Group. His mother, Alia Ghanem, was from a secular middle-class family based in Latakia, Syria. He was born in Saudi Arabia and studied at university in the country until 1979, when he joined Mujahideen forces in Pakistan fighting against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. He helped to fund the Mujahideen by funneling arms, money and fighters from the Arab world into Afghanistan, and gained popularity among many Arabs. In 1988, he formed al-Qaeda. He was banished from Saudi Arabia in 1992, and shifted his base to Sudan, until U.S. pressure forced him to leave Sudan in 1996. After establishing a new base in Afghanistan, he declared a war against the United States, initiating a series of bombings and related attacks. 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 United States, as the FBI offered a $25 million bounty in their search for him. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, where he lived with a local family from Waziristan, during a covert operation conducted by members of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group and Central Intelligence Agency SAD/SOG operators on the orders of U.S. President Barack Obama.
One of the most highly controversial, influential figures in the 20th and 21st centuries, Bin Laden was described as a spiritual leader for al-Qaeda organization. He became one of the most symbolic figures in the Arab world following the Soviet withdrawal. Under his leadership, Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda organization was responsible for the mass murder of 2,977 victims of the September 11 attacks in the United States and many other mass-casualty attacks worldwide.
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