The most mysterious figures of recent times

He’s perhaps the most mysterious figures of recent times.No one knows if he’s alive and his supporters have used this mystery to their advantage.
As Osama bin Laden – world’s most dreaded terrorist – turns 49, he has world’s biggest investigative agency trying to trace him down.Usamah bin Muhammad bin `Awad bin Ladin was born in Riyadh to a wealthy businessman from Yemen with close ties to the Saudi Royal Family. He had an estimated 55 siblings and was his father’s 17th son.
Raised a Sunni, he studied business and project administration in Jeddah. When he was 17 he married to his first wife, who also happened to be his first cousin.
Since then he reportedly married four other women, divorcing one. He has had at least 24 children and his last public appearance was at his son’s wedding just before 9/11.His turn to extremism was sparked by the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. When the Saudi government allowed a coalition from the United States to establish a base in the country, he considered it the ultimate betrayal.
It was thought that he died in the US bombing of Afghanistan, but reports indicate that he escaped to Pakistan. Later, it was rumored that he died of kidney failure. The release of a video just before the 2004 US elections, and in January this year, prove both wrong.
Wherever he is, he is the FBI’s most wanted criminal with a bounty of at least $25 million on his head.
A Saudi Muslim scholar who spent years with Arab jihadis in Afghanistan said he knows Osama bin Laden well and that the Al-Qaeda leader will never surrender, according to a report published today.
He will never surrender because he seeks death and yearns for it,” said Musa al-Qorni in an interview with Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat.
He added that he believed bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States, is at present under the sway of the “Egyptian jihad group” led by Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri and acts according to its plans.
Qorni said he and others tried to convince bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990s to come back to Saudi Arabia and “lead a normal life”, but that the Saudi-born militant snubbed them and returned to Afghanistan.
US President George W Bush said during his first visit to Afghanistan on March 1 that he was confident bin Laden would be brought to justice.
Bin Laden, sheltered by the Taliban regime that was removed from power in a US-led invasion in late 2001, is believed to be hiding out along the remote, mountainous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A US-led coalition force of about 20,000 based in southern and eastern Afghanistan as well as some 80,000 Pakistani troops stationed on the other side of the border are on the hunt for Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, including bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar.


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