The world’s most dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the worst-ever terror attack on U.S. soil, has been killed in an operation in Pakistan.
The following is a chronology of the Al Qaeda chief’s life and terror operations:
1957: Bin Laden is born in Saudi Arabia, the 17th of 52 children of construction magnate Muhammad Awad bin Laden, an immigrant from neighbouring Yemen, who runs a construction company, the Saudi bin Laden Group.
1979: Goes to Afghanistan to help Afghan resistance fighters, known as the mujahedeen, to repel Soviet forces from the country. Bin Laden becomes the chief financier of an organisation, which evolves into a group known as al Qaeda (the base).
1989: After the Soviets pull out of Afghanistan, bin Laden returns to Saudi Arabia to work for the family construction firm. There he uses his network to raise funds for veterans of the Afghan war.
1991: He is expelled from Saudi Arabia due to anti-government activities. Eventually, Saudi Arabia revokes his citizenship, and his family disowns him.
He takes refuge in Sudan.
1993: A bomb at the World Trade Center kills six and wounds hundreds. Six Muslim radicals, who U.S. officials suspect have links to bin Laden, are eventually convicted for the bombing.
1996: Under pressure from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, the Sudan expels bin Laden from the country. Bin Laden moves with his 10 children and three wives to Afghanistan and declares a jihad, or holy war, against U.S. forces.
1998: Truck bombs explode outside the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 224 people; U.S. court indicts bin Laden for role in embassy bombings, with $ 5 million bounty offered for bin Laden.
2000: Suicide bombing of USS Cole in Yemen kills 17 U.S. sailors.
2001: Four of bin Laden’s alleged supporters are convicted May 29 of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa.
2001: AI Qaeda masterminds September 11 attacks on the twin towers of World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing more than 3,000 people. The U.S. government names bin Laden the prime suspect.
U.S. forces fail to kill bin Laden hiding in Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan. Bin Laden and his forces reportedly escape by mules to Pakistan.
2002: The U.S.-led military operation progresses as the Taliban falls. The allied forces increase ground troops flanked by air support in an effort to rout out hold-out al Qaeda forces. In March, the battle intensifies in the mountainous terrain of eastern Afghanistan, where reports say bin Laden is located and, according to some, directing troops.
2002: Bin Laden maintains a low profile in spring but makes headlines again in the fall when Al-Jazeera broadcasts two audio tapes featuring what U.S. intelligence officials say are most likely authentic recordings of bin Laden’s voice.
2003: bin Laden calls Muslims across the world to set aside their differences and join in the “blessed and thankful jihad.”
2004: On January 4, Al-Jazeera again broadcasts audio that CIA officials say is a recent recording of bin Laden. In the recording, bin Laden says the U.S.’ occupation of Iraq is the beginning of an occupation of Persian Gulf states to control their oil reserves.
In March, U.S. defence officials say their forces in Afghanistan will intensify search operations near the Pakistan border, preparing for a broader offensive to hunt down al Qaeda fugitives, including Osama bin Laden.
The U.S. House of Representatives votes unanimously on March 18 to raise the reward for bin Laden’s capture to $ 50 million.
2009: U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates says officials had no reliable information on Bin Laden’s whereabouts for “years”.
2011: U.S. Navy Seals kill bin Laden in a special operation in Abbottabad, 35 miles from Pakistani capital Islamabad.