Father: Muhammad Awad bin Laden, a Yemeni immigrant who built a billion dollar construction company in Saudi Arabi
Mother: Hamida al-Attas
Marriages and Children:
Married to Najwa (1974-separated days before 9/11), and had children Abdullah (1976), Abdul Rahman (1978), Sa'ad(1979), Omar (1981), Osman (1983), Muhammad (1985), Fatima (1987), Iman (1990), Ladin "Bakir" (1993), Rukhaiya (1997), and Nour (1999 or 2000)
Married to Khadijah (1983-1995, divorced), and had children Ali (1984 or 1986), Amer (1990) and Aisha (1992)
Married to Khairiah (1985-2011, his death), and had child Hamza (1989 or 1991)
Married to Siham (1987-2011, his death), and had children Kadhija (1988), Khalid (1989), Miriam (1990) and Sumaiya (1992)
Married to unknown woman (1996-annulled within days)
Married to Amal (2000-2011, his death), and had Safiyah (2001), Aasia (2003), Ibrahim (2004), Zainab (2006) and Hussain (2008)
Education: King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, engineering (1979)
Religion: Sunni Muslim
Bin Laden was the 17th of 52 children of construction magnate Muhammad Awad bin Laden, an immigrant from neighboring Yemen, who ran the construction company the Saudi bin Laden Group.
Muhammad Awad bin Laden became a billionaire by building his company into the largest construction firm in the Saudi kingdom.
Bin Laden married for the first time at age 17, to a Syrian cousin, Najwa.
Reportedly walked with a cane and suffered from kidney disease.
- Travels to Afghanistan to join the jihad
(holy war) against the Soviet Union. He remains there for a decade, using construction equipment from his family's business to help the Muslim guerrilla forces build shelters, tunnels and roads through the rugged Afghan mountains, and at times taking part in battle.
1988 - Bin Laden founds Al-Qaeda (or "the base").
1989 - The Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan. Bin Laden returns to Saudi Arabia to work for the family construction firm, the Bin Laden Group.
August 7, 1990 - Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, U.S. troops arrive in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden is outraged at their presence, and soon begins to target the United States for its presence on Saudi soil near the Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina.
1991 - Bin Laden is expelled by the Saudi regime. Eventually he and his followers relocate to Sudan, taking assets that had grown to an estimated $250 million, according to some officials (others estimate a much lower value). There, al Qaeda begins to evolve into a terror network.
December 1992 - U.S. forces land in Somalia, spearheading a U.N.-authorized humanitarian plan to bring in famine relief supplies. Part of their challenge is disarming the various warlords who control the country. Prosecutors charge that bin Laden threw himself into the midst of this conflict, sending some of his followers to Somalia to train the warlords to fight the U.S. troops.
February 26, 1993 - A bomb explodes at the World Trade Center in New York, killing six and wounding hundreds. Six Muslim radicals, who U.S. officials suspect have links to bin Laden, are eventually convicted for the bombing. Bin Laden is later named along with many others as an unindicted co-conspirator in that case.
October 1993 - Eighteen U.S. servicemen, who are part of a humanitarian mission to Somalia, die in an ambush in Mogadishu. Bin Laden later says that some Arab Afghans were involved in the killings and calls Americans "paper tigers" because they withdrew from Somalia shortly after the soldiers' deaths.
1994 - The Saudi government officially strips bin Laden of his citizenship, freezing all remaining assets he has in the country. His family disowns him as well. Bin Laden is the target of an assassination attempt, so he strengthens his personal security detail. In the following months, officials believe he funds and directs a series of attacks, including a failed attempt to kill Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and a 1995 suicide bombing at the Egyptian embassy in Pakistan. Authorities now believe that this was the early days of a growing alliance between bin Laden and other militant Islamic groups, above all with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and its leader, Ayman al- Zawahiri.
1995 - A truck bombing at a military base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, kills five Americans and two Indians.
1996 - Sudan expels Bin Laden from the country. He moves with his children and wives to Afghanistan where he receives harbor from the fundamentalist Taliban. The United States indicts bin Laden on charges of training the people involved in the 1993 attack that killed 18 U.S. servicemen in Somalia.
August 23, 1996 - Bin Laden declares a jihad, or holy war, against U.S. forces. He signs and issues a declaration of jihad (holy war) from Afghanistan 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."
1997 - In his first interview with Western media, bin Laden tells Peter Bergen that the United States is "unjust, criminal and tyrannical." "The U.S. today, as a result of the arrogant atmosphere, has set a double standard, calling whoever goes against its injustice a terrorist," he said in the same interview. "It wants to occupy our countries, steal our resources, impose on us agents to rule us." Bin Laden also tells Bergen that "Arab holy warriors" trained in Afghanistan had banded with Somali Muslims in October 1993 to kill 18 U.S. soldiers in a bloody battle on the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia. He says, "The U.S. today has set a double standard, calling whoever goes against its injustice, a terrorist. It wants to occupy our countries, steal our resources, impose agents on us to rule us, and then wants us to agree to all this. If we refuse to do so, it says we are terrorists."
February 1997 - According to court documents, bin Laden orders the militarization of the East African cell of Al Qaeda, a move that culminated in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7, 1998, eight years to the day after U.S. troops landed in the Saudi kingdom.
- Bin Laden's al Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad under Ayman al- Zawahiri
merge, according to U.S. prosecutors.
February 1998 - Bin Laden and al Zawahiri endorse a fatwa under the banner of the "International Islamic Front for Jihad on the Jews and Crusaders." This fatwa, published in the newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, on February 23, 1998, states that Muslims should kill Americans, including civilians, anywhere in the world where they can be found.
May 29, 1998 - Bin Laden issues a statement entitled "The Nuclear Bomb of Islam," under the banner of the "International Islamic Front for Fighting the Jews and Crusaders," in which he states that "it is the duty of Muslims to prepare as much force as possible to terrorize the enemies of God."
August 7, 1998 - A pair of truck bombs explode outside the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 224 people.
- Is indicted by U.S. on 224 counts of murder for the Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania
June 7, 1999 - He appears for the first time on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
2000 - Algerian Ahmed Ressam pleads guilty in connection with a failed plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during the millennium celebrations. He claims he was trained in urban warfare and explosives at an Afghanistan camp run by bin Laden.
May 29, 2001 - Four of bin Laden's alleged supporters are convicted of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa.
- Following the September 11 terrorism attacks
in the United States, the U.S. government names bin Laden as a prime suspect.
December 25, 2001 - The Pakistan Observer publishes details of bin Laden's alleged funeral. On the front page, the newspaper reports that an unnamed Taliban leader said bin Laden "had a peaceful natural death in mid-December in the vicinity" of the Tora Bora mountains. The report says that his death was the result of a "serious lung complication." "He was laid to rest honorably in his last abode" in a grave prepared according to the beliefs of the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect of Islam to which the Qaeda leader belonged, the report said.
December 27, 2001 - Afghan officials report that bin Laden is in Pakistan with al Qaeda sympathizers.
January 18, 2002
- Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf
says that Osama bin Laden might have died of kidney failure in Afghanistan after becoming separated from a dialysis machine he had used in recent years.
March 9, 2002 - A Saudi-owned publication quotes one of bin Laden's wives as saying her personal belief is that he is living. The woman, identified only as A.S. said she "feels deep down that he's still alive and that the whole world would have known if he had been killed. Osama's death cannot be hidden."
May 17, 2002
- A Saudi-owned newspaper publishes quotes from Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar
in which he states "Sheikh Osama is still alive, praise God, and this is causing anguish to (U.S. President George W. Bush
) who promised his people to kill Osama, not knowing that lives are in the hands of God."
June 12, 2002 - A Russian newspaper publishes what it claims is an interview with ousted Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. Omar states bin Laden is alive in Afghanistan. "Osama helped us during the war with the Russians, he would not leave us now," the newspaper quoted Omar as saying. "The Holy War is only just beginning. The fire from this war will reach America, and it will burn the capital that launched an unjust attack on Muslims."
July 2002 - Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al Arabi newspaper, says the al-Qaeda leader is in good health, but had been wounded in an attack on his base in Afghanistan last December. Atwan says Bin Laden's followers had told him that he would not make more video statements until his group launches another attack on the United States.
March 10, 2005 - Muslim clerics in Spain issue what they called the world's first fatwa, or Islamic edict, against Osama bin Laden. They called him an apostate and urged others of their faith to denounce him. The ruling was issued by the Islamic Commission of Spain, the main body representing the country's Muslim community.
October 2009 - Najwa and Omar bin Laden write and publish their book, "Growing up bin Laden: Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World."
December 2009 - U.S. government admits a "lack of intelligence" on bin Laden's whereabouts, noting he could be in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
June 17, 2011 - The U.S. Justice Department formally drops terrorism related criminal charges against bin Laden.