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History of Al-Qaeda

  • Al Qaeda is formed.

    Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan Osama Bin Laden and other Arab fighters from the US backed Mujihideen movement form alQaeda which in Arabic means "the base". The network begins looking for new jihads holy wars.
  • Period: to


    Al Qaeda
  • Bin Laden moves to Sudan

    Bin Laden moves to Sudan where he sets up training camps.
    Sudan becomes alQaeda's base for business operations and preparations for jihad. From here a number of attacks on Western targets are alleged to have been organised or supported. Bin Laden stays in the African country for five years. During this time it is believed he begins a search for nuclear material.
  • First Al-Qaeda attack. Aden, Yemen.

    On December 29, 1992, the first attack by Al Qaeda was carried out in Aden, Yemen. That evening, a bomb went off at the Gold Mohur hotel, where U.S. troops had been staying while en-route to Somalia, though the troops had already left when the bomb exploded. The bombers targeted a second hotel, the Aden Movenpick, where they believed American troops might also be staying. That bomb detonated prematurely in the hotel car park, around the same time as the other bomb explosion.
  • World Trade Centre Bombing

    The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993, when Ramzi Yousef parked a rented van full of explosives in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center. The explosion claimed six victims, and over one thousand people were wounded. Ramzi Yousef, the nephew of 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, had trained in Afghanistan, although Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did not join Al Qaeda until 1998.
  • Bojinka, Philippine Airlines Flight 434

    Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (prior to joining with Al Qaeda) planned Operation Bojinka, a plot to destroy airplanes in mid-Pacific flight using explosives. They tested their attacks in November 1994 on the Philippine Airlines Flight 434, which also involved Abu Sayyaf (a Southeast Asia affiliate of Al Qaeda). An apartment fire in Manila, Philippines exposed the plan before it could be carried out. Yousef was arrested, but Mohammed evaded capture until 2003.
  • Bin Laden returns to Afghanistan

    Bin Laden leaves Sudan and returns to Afghanistan.
    In the mid 1990s Sudan comes under growing international pressure to expel Osama Bin Laden. It is not clear whether he is actually forced to leave the African country but in May 1996 he returns to Afghanistan.
  • Bin Laden issues Fatwa

    22 February, 1998
    Bin Laden issues fatwa calling for attacks on US citizens
    A statement signed by Bin Laden and four of his associates calls for the killing of Americans saying it is the "individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it".
  • U.S. Embassy Bombings

    In August 1998, Al-Qaeda operatives carried out the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing more than 200 people and injuring more than 5,000 others.
  • Jordan Millennial Celebrations

    In December 1999 and into 2000, al-Qaeda planned attacks against U.S. and Israeli tourists visiting Jordan for millennial celebrations; however, Jordanian authorities thwarted the planned attacks and put 28 suspects on trial. Part of this plot included the planned bombing of LAX, but this plot was foiled when bomber Ahmed Ressam was caught at the US-Canadian border with explosives in the trunk of his car.
  • USS Cole Bombing

    Al-Qaeda succeeded in bombing a U.S. warship in October 2000 with the USS Cole bombing.
  • Strasbourg Bombing Prevented

    German police foiled a plot to bomb the Christmas market near the Strasbourg Cathedral in Strasbourg, France in December 2000.
  • Rizal Day Bombings

    The Rizal Day bombings, also referred to as the December 30 bombings, were a series of bombings that occurred around Metro Manila in the Philippines on December 30, 2000. The explosions occurred in close succession within a span of a few hours. 22 fatalities were reported and around a hundred more suffered non-fatal injuries.
  • September 11 Attacks

    The most destructive act ascribed to al-Qaeda was the series of attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. These attacks destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon in a series of suicide hijacking of airplanes. Nearly 3,000 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks. Osama bin Laden did take credit for the attacks days before the 2004 Presidential Election.
  • Abu Zubaydah Captured

    22 March, 2002
    Senior alQaeda member captured in Pakistan
    Abu Zubaydah believed to have served as Osama Bin Laden's field commander and chief recruiter is captured during a raid on a house in Pakistan. Number three on America's list of most wanted alQaeda suspects he is then handed over to the US authorities.
  • Bali Bombings

    The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia, killing 202 people, (including 88 Australians, and 38 Indonesian citizens). A further 240 people were injured.
  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Captured

    1 March, 2003
    AlQaeda kingpin captured
    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed thought to be one of alQaeda's most senior leaders is arrested in a joint PakistaniCIA operation near Islamabad. The US believes he helped plan the 11 September attacks.
  • Ali Abdul Rahman alGhamdi Arrested

    27 June, 2003
    Mastermind of Riyadh attacks arrested
    The man suspected of masterminding the series of bombings in Riyadh is detained in Saudi Arabia. The arrest of Ali Abdul Rahman alGhamdi also known as Abu Bakr alAzdi is described as a major blow to alQaeda's operations in Saudi Arabia. He was number two on the list of mostwanted suspects in connection with the 12 May attacks.
  • Istanbul Truck Bombings

    The 2003 Istanbul bombings were four truck bomb attacks carried out on November 15, 2003 and November 20, 2003, in Istanbul, Turkey, leaving 57 people dead, and 700 wounded. Several men have been convicted for their involvement.
  • SuperFerry 14 Bombing

    The 2004 SuperFerry 14 bombing on February 27, 2004, was an Islamic terrorist attack that resulted in the sinking of the ferry SuperFerry 14 and the deaths of 116 people in the Philippines.
  • Madrid Train Bombings

    The Madrid train bombings consisted of a series of coordinated bombings against the Cercanías (commuter train) system of Madrid, Spain on the morning of 11 March 2004 (three days before Spain's general elections), killing 191 people and wounding 1,800. The official investigation by the Spanish Judiciary determined the attacks were directed by an al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell although no direct al-Qaeda participation has been established.
  • Bin Laden offers Europe truce

    15 April, 2004
    Bin Laden offers Europe truce
    An audio tape purported to be from Osama Bin Laden is broadcast. In it he offers Europe a truce if it "stops attacking Muslims" and withdraws all its troops from Muslim countries.
  • London Underground Bombing

    Four members of Al-Qaeda, three of British Pakistani descent and one of British Jamaican descent attacked Londons public transport on July 7, 2005. Three bombs were detonated on the London Underground and one on a double decker bus. The attacks took place between 8.50 am and 9.47 am. 56 people died during the attacks (including 4 terrorists) and around 700 were injured.
  • Bin Laden offers truce to US

    19 January, 2006
    Bin Laden offers a long term truce
    In what is believed to be his first new message since December 2004 Osama Bin Laden offers the US a "long term truce". The offer quickly rejected by the US comes in an audio tape aired by Arabic TV station alJazeera. The alQaeda leader also warns that new attacks on the US are being planned.
  • Algiers Bombings

    Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb claimed to have been responsible for the April 11, 2007 Algiers bombings. Two bombs exploded within a short time of each other, one at the prime ministers office and the other at a police station. The blasts killed 33 people. It was the first time a bombing had occurred in the capital in more than a decade.
  • Danish Embassy Bombing

    Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Danish embassy in Pakistan on June 2, 2008. A car bomb killed six people and injured several. Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, a high-ranking member of Al-Qaeda, issued a statement after the bombing, claiming that the attack was a response to the 2005 publication of the highly controversial Muhammed Cartoons.
  • Failed Northwest Airlines Flight 253 Bombing

    Northwest Airlines Flight 253 was an international passenger flight from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands, to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Michigan, United States. The flight was the target of a failed alleged al-Qaeda bombing attempt on Christmas Day, December 25, 2009, in which a passenger tried to set off plastic explosives sewn to his underwear. There were 290 people on board the plane, which was operated by Northwest Airlines.
  • Khost CIA Bombing

    An Al-Qaeda agent posing as a double agent killed 7 CIA officers in the 2009 Khost CIA bombing on December 30, 2009. The Jordanian man, thought to be an American asset penetrating Al-Qaeda was brought in the wire of the camp and detonated an explosive belt, killing 7 CIA, 1 Jordanian intelligence officer, and seriously wounding six others.
  • Cargo Plane Bombs Discovered

    On October 29, 2010, two packages, each containing a bomb consisting of 300 to 400 grams of plastic explosives and a detonating mechanism, were found on separate cargo planes. The bombs were discovered as a result of intelligence received from Saudi Arabia's security chief. They were bound from Yemen to the United States, and were discovered at en route stop-overs, in England and in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. One week later, al-Qaeda took responsibility for the plot.
  • Osama Bin Laden Dies

    After being placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list, bin Laden remained in hiding during three U.S. presidential administrations. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA operatives in a covert operation ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama. Shortly after his death, bin Laden's body was buried at sea. Al-Qaeda acknowledged his death on May 6, 2011, vowing to retaliate.