Osama bin Laden, the face of terror
The most prominent face of terror in America and beyond, Osama Bin Laden, has been killed in Pakistan, U.S. officials said Sunday night.
Bin Laden was the leader of al Qaeda, the terrorist network behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. U.S. officials said that their forces have the body of bin Laden.
The enormity of the destruction – the World Trade Center’s towers devastated by two hijacked airplanes, the Pentagon partially destroyed by a third hijacked jetliner, a fourth flight crashed in rural Pennsylvania, and more than 3,000 people killed – gave bin Laden a global presence.
The Saudi-born zealot commanded an organization run like a rogue multinational firm, experts said, with subsidiaries operating secretly in dozens of countries, plotting terror, raising money and recruiting young Muslim men – even boys – from many nations to its training camps in Afghanistan.
He used the fruits of his family’s success – a personal fortune estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars – to help finance al Qaeda in its quest for a new pan-Islamic religious state. How much bin Laden got in the settlement of the family estate is still a matter of contention. Estimates range from tens of millions to hundreds of millions.
Even before September 11, bin Laden was already on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
He had been implicated in a series of deadly, high-profile attacks that had grown in their intensity and success during the 1990s.