ISABEL VINCENT: OSAMA BIN LADEN ‘has close ties to some of the radical Muslim world’s strongest leaders and to sworn enemies of the United States, including Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.’ SEPTEMBER 12, 2001: BLACK’S NATIONAL POST

PRIME SUSPECT

Saudi contractor’s son, radicalized in his youth, is world’s most wanted man

The West’s anger at yesterday’s horrible terrorist attacks raged against one man, Osama bin Laden – a shadowing Saudi-born militant who for the past five years has actively declared holy war against the United States from bases in Afghanistan and Sudan.

Bin Laden believes terror is his “heavenly decree,” and in the last few years, he has reportedly financed some of the most devastating terrorist attacks against U.S. installations.

Three years ago, he founded the International Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders, and is now one of the key backers of an army of thousands of Islamic fundamentalists willing to die in the jihad, or holy war, against the United States and its allies.

In addition to yesterday’s attacks in New York and Washington, bin Laden has been blamed for the 1996 terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia that resulted in the deaths of 19 U.S. soldiers and has been indicted in a U.S. court for his alleged role in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed 224 people.

Terrorism experts beleive he was behind last year’s attack on the USS Cole, an American warship stationed in Yemen, which killed 17 U.S. sailors.

He is also implicated in the December, 1992 attack on a Yemeni hotel that injured several tourists and in an assassination attempt on Hosni Mubarak, then the Egyptian president, in Ethiopia in June 1995.

Reacting to the U.S. embassy attacks in Africa three years ago, former U.S. president Bill Clinton called bin Laden “the pre-eminent organizer and financier of international terrorism in the world today.”

In retaliation for the bombings, the United States  then launched cruise missiles against terrorist objectives in Sudan and Afghanistan.

Terrorism experts believe militant Islamic regimes in Sudan and Afghanistan have been colluding with bin Laden for years to attack U.S. installations worldwide.

Over the past 20 years, both countries have been instrumental to bin Laden’s rise in the radical Islamist underground.

To thousands of fundamentalist Muslims around the world, bin Laden is a great hero who has bankrolled radical Muslim groups from Afghanistan to the Balkans to Chechnya.

He has paid for the training of thousands of young militant Muslims in camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has close ties to some of the radical Muslim world’s strongest leaders and to sworn enemies of the United States, including Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

In the West, he is public enemy number one — today, the world’s most wanted man.

“To date, bin Laden is the only terrorist leader to have formally declared a jihad – holy war – against the United States,” says Yossef Bodansky, a military analyst and the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.

“And he has done so numerous times since 1996, reinforcing his original call to arms with additional and more specific decrees as his theological and command authority has grown.”

– BIN LADEN BELIEVES TERROR IS HIS ‘HEAVENLY DECREE’

NATIONAL POST, SEPTEMBER 12, 2001

ISABEL VINCENT

PAGE D1, SECTION FRONTPAGE

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