Osama bin Laden is a prominent Islamist leader, head of the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Although he is wanted by numerous countries around the world, he is relatively unknown to the public.

Born in Saudi Arabia he fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets during the 1980s, in 1990 he returned to Saudi Arabia lauded as a hero of the Afghan jihad but soon fell out with the Saudi government over it's close relationship with the infidel US. In 1992 he was expelled from Saudi Arabia and took up residence in Sudan where he was granted asylum by Hassan Turabi's Islamist government. In 1996, under pressure from the US, Egypt and Saudi Arabia Sudan expelled bin Laden. Although he was offered asylum in Eritrea, bin Laden decided to accept an invitation from the Taliban movement in Afghanistan to fight with them.

By 1997 the Taliban were being forced over the border into Pakistan and bin Laden left the region in 2000, assuming a false name and moving to Yemen where he gathered a group of former comrades from Afghanistan together with the objective of an Islamic Revolution in Saudi Arabia. In 2002 captured intelligence in Pakistan's Waziristan region indicated bin Laden's presence in Yemen. the CIA informed the Yemeni government, a police raid on a Sana'a apartment occupied by an "Abu Abdallah" turned up various intelligence, but bin Laden was not there, he had fled and moved his anti-Saudi organisation, Arabian Islamic Jihad to Eritrea.

From 2002 to 2006 bin Laden masterminded numerous bombings in Saudi Arabia, including the 2004 attempted assassination of King Fahd from his government granted HQ in the Eritrean capital of Asmara. In 2006 he handed over control of Arabian Islamic Jihad to Ayman al-Zawahiri and moved to Somalia to fight with the Islamic Courts Union against the Ethiopian and Somali government forces.

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