The Osama bin Laden story news
02 May 2011

A look at some milestones Osama bin Laden crossed in his life.

An Al Jazeera image broadcast in 2001 that includes Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahari (second from left and second from right respectively)1957 - Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden is born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the 17th of 52 children of Muhammad Awad bin Laden, a Yemeni immigrant who built a billion-dollar construction enterprise in Saudi Arabia, and a Syrian mother.

1979 Osama bin Laden graduates from university in Jeddah with an engineering degree and joins the "jihad," or "holy war," against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

1980-1989 In this decade Osama bin Laden acts as the financier for Mujahidin operations in Afghanistan and also organises disparate guerrilla groups into a cohesive entity.

1988 Osama founds a group that the United States subsequently dubs as al-Qaeda, which in Arabic means "the base" or ''database. The group still carries that nomenclature.

1989 - The Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan and bin Laden returns to Saudi Arabia to work for the family construction firm, the bin Laden Group.

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The Osama bin Laden story