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Osama bin Laden facts

BORN in Saudi Arabia in 1957, one of more than 50 children of millionaire construction magnate Mohamed bin Laden.

MARRIAGE His first was to a Syrian cousin at the age of 17. He is reported to have at least 23 children from at least five wives.

CONVINCED Muslims are victims of U.S.-led terrorism, bin Laden is blamed for masterminding a series of attacks on U.S. targets in Africa and the Middle East in the 1990s. His family disowned him, and he was stripped of his Saudi citizenship.

FOUGHT in the U.S.-funded insurgency in the 1980s against Soviet troops in Afghanistan, where he founded al-Qaida. He returned to Afghanistan in the 1990s, training Islamist militants.

TALL, gaunt and bearded, bin Laden was unhurt by U.S. missile strikes on his Afghan camps after the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa.

APPROVED the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States in which nearly 3,000 people died, saying later that the results had exceeded his expectations.


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