Although authorities say they can't be certain who is responsible for Tuesday's terrorist attacks, they also haven't hesitated to name former Saudi businessman Osama bin Laden as a primary suspect. Born in 1955 to one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest and most prominent families, he was radicalized in 1979 by a combination of events, including the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, the signing of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and the toppling of the shah of Iran. After being expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, Bin Laden dedicated his personal fortune--estimated at more than $200 million--to a "holy war" against all things American.
The following excerpts were taken from bin Laden's writings and from interviews he has given over the years to ABC News, to the magazine Nida'Ul Islam and to the British newspaper The Independent.
"When the invasion of Afghanistan started, I was enraged and went there at once.... I was never afraid of death.... Once I was only 30 meters from the Russians and they were trying to capture me. I was under bombardment but I was so peaceful in my heart that I fell asleep. .... I saw a 120mm mortar shell land in front of me, but it did not blow up. Four more bombs were dropped from a Russian plane on our headquarters, but they did not explode. We beat the Soviet Union. The Russians fled."
\o7 December 1993\f7
"I remind the youths of the Islamic world, who fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina with their wealth, pens, tongues and themselves, that the battle had not finished yet. .... These youths know that: if one is not to be killed, one will die [any way], and the most honorable death is to be killed in the way of Allah. ... "
"Our women had set a tremendous example of generosity in the cause of Allah; they motivated and encouraged their sons, brothers and husbands to fight .... Our woman weep not, except over men who fight in the cause of Allah .... "
\o7 October 1996\f7
"After the end of the Cold War, America escalated its campaign against the Muslim world in its entirety, aiming to get rid of Islam itself. ... However, our gratitude to Allah, their campaign was not successful, as terrorizing the American occupiers is a religious and logical obligation."
"The Afghan government has not asked" us to leave the country. ... Our relationship with our brother moujahedeen in Afghanistan is a deep and broad relationship where blood and sweat have mixed, as have the links over long years of struggle against the Soviets."
\o7 November 1996\f7
"We have declared jihad against the U.S. ... [Is it] directed against U.S. soldiers, the civilians in [Mecca and Medina] or against the civilians in America[?] We have focused our declaration on striking at the soldiers .... "
\o7 March 1997
"We predict a black day for America and the end of the United States as United States. [They] will be separate states and will retreat from our land and collect the bodies of their sons back to America."
"We do not differentiate between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians; they are all targets in this fatwa.
\o7 May 1998\f7
[The U.S. Embassy explosion in Nairobi] was a painful blow. [The Americans] had not sustained such a blow since the blowing up of the Marines in Lebanon. .... They deserved it. It made them taste what we tasted during the massacres committed [against us].
\o7 June 1999\f7
Acquiring weapons for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty. To seek to possess the weapons that could counter those of the infidels is a religious duty.
\o7 February 2001