HISTORICAL SUMMARY PROFILE OF AL QAEDA
The Soviets begin their withdrawl from admit their 10-year long battle to control Afghanistan. Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden brings together Arab mojahedin in the country to create al-Qaeda (Meaning "the base" in Arabic) to fight a new jihad against the west, empowered by repelling the Soviets from Afghanistan.
1991 though 1992
Bin Laden relocates to Sudan. He provides financial backing to Sudanese leader Hassan Turabi and various other Islamist causes from Algeria to Afghanistan. During this period, al-Qaeda begins to mesh with other Islamist terrorist groups in the region, including the Islamic Jihad Movement of Eritrea and al-Itihaad al-Islamiya, a Somali group.
On 26 February 1993, a bomb explodes in the underground parking garage at the World Trade Centre, killing seven people and injuring more than 1,000 others. Ramzi Youssef is eventually convicted of the bombing, although infomration indicates that he had direct contact with Bin Laden and received funds, in part from al-Qaeda.
While engaged in famine relief efforts in Operation Restore Hope, a US black hawk helicopter is shot down over Mogadishu, the capital of Somali on 3 October 1993. About 1,000 Somalis and 18 US rangers are killed in the ensuing battle, the most violent episode in a US peacekeeping mission that saw the death of 25 American soldiers from beginning to end. It was later established that a Mombasa-based al-Qaeda terrorist cell had travelled to Mogadishu to start trouble.
Saudi Arabia strips Bin Laden of citizenship because "of his irresponsible behavior that contradicts the interests of Saudi Arabia and harms sisterly countries".
A plot to kill Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, is called off.
Bin Laden is asked to leave Sudan and returns to Afghanistan, where the Taliban regime is rising in power.
August: Osama bin Laden's "Declaration of War" is first published in Al Quds Al Arabi, a London-based newspaper. The Fatwa is formally entitled "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places."
25 June 1996: Nineteen US servicemen are killed by an explosion in the Khobar Towers military complex in Saudi Arabia, a terrorist attack linked directly to al Qaeda.
RELATED:On 21 June 2001, an indictment was issued in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia charging the following people with murder, conspiracy, and other charges related to the bombing:
Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Mughassil
Abdelkarim Hussein Mohamed Al-Nasser
Ali Saed Bin Ali El-Hoorie
Ibrahim Salih Mohammed al-Yacoub
Nine other Saudis
One Lebanese man.
In 2004, the 9/11 Commission noted that Osama bin Laden likely helped the group responsible for the attack by obtaining explosives - possibly with assistance from Iran.
Bin Laden tells CNN that "the US must pay for its support of Israel."
7 August 1998: In nearly simultaneous truck bomb attacks, the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, are bombed. The bombings killed 213 people in Nairobi and a dozen in Dar es Salaam. An estimated 4000 were injured in the Kenyan capital and 85 in Dar es Salaam. Almost all of the victims were African civilians, as well as several US diplomats. It was this incident that first brought worldwide attention to bin Laden and al Qaeda, leading the FBI to place him on the agency's Ten Most Wanted List.
20 August 1998:Then US president Bill Clinton orders cruise missile strikes on al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan that the US claims is producing chemical weapons.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, merges his group with al-Qaeda to form the International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusaders. It was at this time that intelligence agencies believe that Zawahiri became al-Qaeda's second-in-command.
Ahmed RESSAM, an Algerian national who trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, is arrested trying to cross by ferry from Canada to the United States with 60kg of bomb-making equipment. He is jailed 18-months later months later for his role in a plot to bomb Los Angeles airport on New Year's eve 1999.
12 October 2000: Two homicide bombers detonated their explosives-packed boat next to the U.S. warship as it refueled in Aden harbor at Yemen's southern tip, killing 17 U.S. sailors and wounding 39.
Six Yemeni suspects have been identified as those involved in the bombing, all who share a background as fighters in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Jamal al-Badawi, the most senior of the 6 suspects jailed in Yemen told investigators he received telephone instructions for the bombing from "a man in the United Arab Emirates." Al-Badawi said he had met the man in Afghanistan during the war but had not seen him since, the sources said. That man has been identified as Mohammed Omar al-Harazi, also known as ''Abu al-Mohsin'' and ''Abu al-Hasan.'' Al-Harazi is a Saudi citizen born to a Yemeni family in the rugged Haraz mountain region west of San'a, the capital.
During this investigation, Al-Badawi told investigators that al-Harazi never directly told him he was receiving orders and financing for the attack from bin Laden, but al-Harazi's tone and manner had led him to believe that was the case.
Other suspects in the Cole attack were identified as 2 police officials from Lahej, just north of Aden: Walid al-Sourouri & Fatha Abdul Rahman. The policemen provided fake identification & other documents to the homicide bombers. Yasser al-Azzani, provided support for the bombers and provided them lunch at his Aden home the day before the attack. Another suspect, Jamal Ba Khorsh, was reportedly recruited to videotape the attack, although for reasons unknown the tape was never made. A sixth suspect, Ahmad al-Shinni was also allegedly involed in the plot.
11 September 2001:Multiple terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon take place.
October 2001: A heavy bombing campaign followed by US-coordinated attacks on Taliban positions by Afghan opposition groups destroys the regime and, in December, US special forces and their Afghan allies fight al-Qaeda positions in Tora Bora.
Terrorist attacks continue - in Tunisia, Pakistan, Yemen, Kuwait, Bali, Moscow and Mombasa, all attributed to Osama bin Laden's network. A tape attributed to Bin Laden by US officials praises the majority of these and warns US allies against following the "oppressive American government".
Suspected al-Qaeda members are imprisoned in a US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, while active units also draw US forces into battle in Afghanistan.
Autonomous cells from al Qaeda begin to emerge for current and future operations.
March: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks, is captured and tells his interrogators he has met bin Laden in recent weeks in Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. Interestingly, reports that Bin Laden has been arrested begin to circulate in March.
April: Britain's first convicted al-Qaeda terrorists are jailed for 11 years each after being found guilty of helping to fund Bin Laden's terror network. Illegal immigrants Brahim Benmerzouga and Baghdad Meziane had raised thousands of British pounds through credit card fraud for an international network of terrorists planning a jihad, or holy war, against the west. A week later, a tape handed to the Associated Press from Bin Laden calls on citizens of Arab and Muslim governments that supported the US-led invasion to rise up against them.
12 May 2003: Homicide bombers attack three Riyadh compounds housing foreigners, killing 35 people including at least nine bombers. al-Qaeda spokesman tells a London-based Arabic magazine that the organization has restructured itself and is planning spectacular attacks against the United States. In a tape broadcast on al-Jazeera, Ayman al-Zawahri criticizes Arab countries for helping the US war in Iraq.
8 November 2003 Homicide bombing at a Riyadh housing compound kills 17, most of them Muslims working in Saudi Arabia. US and Saudi officials believe it was masterminded by Abdulaziz Issa Abdul-Mohsin al-Muqrin, suspected of being al-Qaeda's top figure in Saudi Arabia.
20 November 2003: Istanbul explosions kill 27 and target British Consulate and HSBC Bank; two booby trapped trucks targeted the British Consulate and offices of the HSBC bank in Istanbul, which led to the killing of 27 persons, including the British consul and wounding hundreds of others. These two attacks happened five days after two similar attacks against two Jewish synagogues in the same city. These attacks took place 10 minutes apart coincided with the visit of the US President George W. Bush to Britain.
11 March: the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the Lockerbie bombing kills 190 people and injures hundreds more in the Spanish capital of Madrid right before their presidential elections. The atrocity is initially blamed on the Basque nationalist group ETA but is later linked to al Qaeda Islamic terrorists. More than 20 people, most of them Moroccans, are arrested in the following weeks.
April: Attack Stopped An attempt to explode a bomb on Spanish trains is foiled after a bag containing explosives is discovered under a high-speed rail track 40 miles south of Madrid. Later that week, a group of Islamic terrorists blow themselves up when their flat in Madrid is raided by police. Among those who are killed is Sarhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, the likely ringleader and mastermind of the Madrid attack.