“Al-Qaeda, which in Arabic means “the base”, was created in 1988.
Osama bin Laden formed the fundamentalist group with other Arab fighters from the US-backed mujahideen after forcing back Soviet soldiers from Afghanistan.
Here is a timeline of events from the group’s creation through to the death of Osama bin Laden.
:: 1991: Osama bin Laden moves to Sudan and makes the country al-Qaeda’s base. Training camps are set up and preparations made for jihad.
Bin Laden – whose aliases included the Prince, the Emir, Abu Abdallah, Mujahid Shaykh, Hajj, and the Director – stayed in the African country for five years and was believed to have begun a search for nuclear material.
:: 1993: Bin Laden linked by the US to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre which killed six people and injured 1,000 more.
:: 1996: The US identifies bin Laden as the prime suspect in the bombing of the Khobar Towers military complex in Saudi Arabia in which 19 US servicemen are killed.
:: October 12 1996: Bin Laden formalises his campaign against America by issuing a declaration of jihad, or holy war, calling on muslims to kill US soldiers, civilians and allies…”
The US Embassy bombing in Nairobi
:: August 1998: The first acknowledged mass-casualty al-Qaeda attack takes place at the US Embassy in Kenya. A total of 219 people are killed.
A pick-up truck packed with explosives blows up outside the four-storey building in the heart of the capital Nairobi.
Minutes later, 12 people are killed when another bomb shatters the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam in neighbouring Tanzania.
About 5,000 people are injured in the two blasts.
: December 2001: An attempted suicide attack on a Paris to Miami airliner by London-born Richard Reid, an al-Qaeda sympathiser, is thwarted after he is overpowered by passengers as he tries to ignite explosives in his shoe. He was later jailed for life by an American court.
:: In early 2002 Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Pakistan and beheaded by al-Qaeda.
:: October 12 2002: Two bombs explode in a busy nightclub area on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people, including 28 Britons.
One hits Paddy’s Irish Bar in the island’s Kuta tourist district and the second explodes in a van outside the Sari nightclub in the same area.
The al-Qaeda-linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah was blamed for the Bali attacks.
:: November 28 2002: A vehicle packed with explosives ploughs into the Paradise Hotel near the port of Mombasa in Kenya, killing 11 Kenyans and three Israeli tourists.
In a simultaneous attack, two shoulder-launched missiles are fired at an Israeli passenger plane nearby, but narrowly miss the aircraft.
:: December 2002: A suspected Muslim extremist, cradling his hidden gun like a baby under his jacket, slips into a Christian hospital in southern Yemen and opens fire, killing three American missionaries and seriously wounding a fourth. Yemeni officials say the gunman is linked to al-Qaeda.
:: May 13 2003: A series of suicide bombings in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, kill at least 34 people, in attacks on housing compounds for foreigners.
:: August 5 2003: Jemaah Islamiya – the al-Qaeda-linked group thought to be behind the Bali attack – are blamed for the car bombing of the US-run JW Marriott luxury hotel in Jakarta, which kills 12 people.
:: November 9 2003: Saudi authorities claim al-Qaeda is behind a suicide car bombing that kills 17 people in Riyadh.
Istanbul bombings in 2003
:: November 15 2003: Terrorists said to be linked to al-Qaeda bomb two synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey.
:: Five days later, two more suicide car bombings in Istanbul hit the British Consulate General and the HQ of HSBC bank in the city.
The series of attacks kill 61 people – including British Consul-General Roger Short – and injure hundreds more.
Analysts say the November 20 bombings showed that al-Qaeda has realigned its sights towards British targets.
Carnage of Madrid train bombings
:: March 11 2004: Two-and-a-half years after the September 11 attacks, a series of bombs rip through commuter trains in Madrid, killing more than 200 people and wounding 1,500.
The Spanish government, a supporter of the war on Iraq, initially blamed Basque terrorists, but al-Qaeda later claimed responsibility.
Bin Laden continued to inspire terror attacks.
:: May 17 2004: A suicide bomber kills the head of the Iraqi Governing Council, Ezzedine Salim, near the headquarters of the US-led coalition in Baghdad.
Tawhid wa al-Jihad, later renamed al-Qaeda in Iraq, claims responsibility.
:: May 29 2004: Twenty-two people die after gunmen allegedly from a group linked to al-Qaeda attack offices in Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
:: June 18 2004: US engineer Paul Johnson is beheaded by suspected al-Qaeda militants in Saudi Arabia after holding him hostage for a week. The country’s purported network leader Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin is later killed by security forces.
:: July 7 2005: A total of 52 people are killed and more than 700 injured when terrorists launch four attacks on London’s transport network.
:: November 2005: The group massacres at least 56 people and injure more than 100 when they blow up three foreign owned hotels in Amman, Jordan.
:: June 8 2006: Al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is killed in a US airstrike in Iraq. He was reportedly linked to countless attacks and killings – including the videotaped executions of Western hostages Nick Berg and Ken Bigley.
:: March 27 2007: Australian detainee and muslim convert David Hicks, at a military court at Guantanamo Bay, admits providing material support for terrorism.
:: August 2007: Al-Qaeda are linked to the deaths of 400 Yazidis – an ancient muslim sect regarded as infidels by extremists – killed in bombings in the Sinjar area of Iraq.
:: September 7 and 8 2007: Two suicide attacks kill at least 50 people in Algeria.
The first claims 19 lives among people waiting to see the president in Batna. In the second attack, a truck packed with explosives is driven into a naval barracks in the port of Dellys. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility.
:: Three months later the same group kills more than 40 people with two car bomb attacks in the Algerian capital, Algiers. One targeted the country’s Supreme Court, the other the UN’s refugee agency.
Benazir Bhutto’s coffin is massive over the heads of mourners
:: December 27 2007: Al-Qaeda are linked to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was killed during a suicide attack at an election rally in Rawalpindi along with more than 150 others.
:: June 2008: Al-Qaeda kills six people when terrorists attack the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, with a car bomb.
:: October 2009: At least 155 victims die when al-Qaeda carries out a double suicide bombing in Baghdad.
:: Two months later the group is linked to a series of car bombs in the centre of Baghdad which kill at least 127 people.
:: December 25 2009: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, a Nigerian graduate, tries to blow up an aeroplane. Wearing explosives in his underwear he sets himself alight in a packed Airbus approaching Detroit, in an attack orchestrated by al Qaida in Yemen.
:: October 2010: The network is linked to a major international terror alert when explosives are found hidden in toner cartridges on board planes at East Midlands Airport in the UK and Dubai. The packages are addressed to synagogues in Chicago and sent from Yemen.
:: March 2011: British Airways worker Rajib Karim, 31, is jailed for 30 years at Woolwich Crown Court for conspiring with al-Qaeda preacher Anwar Al-Awlaki to blow up a transatlantic flight. Read more here: The Crimes of Usama
There was no evidence he was going to surrender nor did he try. Read more real time info from CNN here: real time