11 September 2001 Attacks - Attackers and Their Background - Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden

See also: Osama bin Laden, Death of Osama bin Laden, and Videos of Osama bin Laden

Bin Laden, who orchestrated the attacks, initially denied but later admitted involvement. Al Jazeera broadcast a statement by bin Laden on September 16, 2001, stating, "I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation." In November 2001, U.S. forces recovered a videotape from a destroyed house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In the tape, bin Laden is seen talking to Khaled al-Harbi and admits foreknowledge of the attacks. On December 27, 2001, a second bin Laden video was released. In the video, he said, "Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people", but he stopped short of admitting responsibility for the attacks.

Shortly before the U.S. presidential election in 2004, in a taped statement, bin Laden publicly acknowledged al-Qaeda's involvement in the attacks on the U.S. and admitted his direct link to the attacks. He said that the attacks were carried out because, "we are free ... and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours." Bin Laden said he had personally directed his followers to attack the World Trade Center. Another video obtained by Al Jazeera in September 2006 shows bin Laden with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, as well as two hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail al-Shehri, as they make preparations for the attacks. The U.S. never formally indicted bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks but he was on the FBI's Most Wanted List for the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. After a nearly 10-year manhunt, bin Laden was killed by American special forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011.

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