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Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice
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    State department adds Hamza bin Laden, who was named an al-Qaida member in 2014, to global terror list, saying he is ‘actively engaged in terrorism’

    The Obama administration imposed sanctions on Thursday on a son of Osama bin Laden, saying the younger Bin Laden poses a risk to US national security.

    The state department said Hamza bin Laden had been added to its Specially Designated Global Terrorist list after he was “determined to have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security”.

    Related: 'A more dangerous long-term threat': Al-Qaida grows as Isis retreats

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    Lawyer says officials refused to renew ID cards for wife and children of Shakil Afridi, who helped US track and kill al-Qaida chief

    Pakistan has refused to grant identity cards to the family of Shakil Afridi, the jailed doctor who helped the US hunt Osama bin Laden, his lawyer has said, in effect denying them passports and voting rights.

    Related: CIA organised fake vaccination drive to get Osama bin Laden's family DNA

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    British-born jihadi who blew himself up for Islamic State this week was a convert detained for two years at Camp X-Ray

    When US special forces found Jamal al-Harith in a jail in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in January 2002, he said he viewed them as his saviours. But after another 15 years, two of which he spent in Guantánamo Bay, he was to blow himself up in Iraq on behalf of Islamic State, sworn enemies of the US.

    Harith’s Guantánamo file says US officials decided to ship him to Camp X-Ray at the American base in Cuba because “he was expected to have knowledge of Taliban treatment of prisoners and interrogation tactics”. He was soon to learn even more about US methods.

    Related: Isis suicide bomber ‘was Briton freed from Guantánamo’

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    Biographies of ‘homegrown’ European terrorists show they are violent nihilists who adopt Islam, rather than religious fundamentalists who turn to violence

    There is something new about the jihadi terrorist violence of the past two decades. Both terrorism and jihad have existed for many years, and forms of “globalised” terror – in which highly symbolic locations or innocent civilians are targeted, with no regard for national borders – go back at least as far as the anarchist movement of the late 19th century. What is unprecedented is the way that terrorists now deliberately pursue their own deaths.

    Over the past 20 years – from Khaled Kelkal, a leader of a plot to bomb Paris trains in 1995, to the Bataclan killers of 2015– nearly every terrorist in France blew themselves up or got themselves killed by the police. Mohamed Merah, who killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, uttered a variant of a famous statement attributed to Osama bin Laden and routinely used by other jihadis: “We love death as you love life.” Now, the terrorist’s death is no longer just a possibility or an unfortunate consequence of his actions; it is a central part of his plan. The same fascination with death is found among the jihadis who join Islamic State. Suicide attacks are perceived as the ultimate goal of their engagement.

    Related: How the changing media is changing terrorism | Jason Burke

    Few jihadis advertise their own life stories. They generally talk about what they have seen of others’ suffering

    The Muslim community terrorists are eager to avenge is almost never specified

    Living in ‘a true Islamic society’ does not interest jihadis: they do not go to the Middle East to live, but to die

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    In the days after 9/11, the world’s most wanted man retreated to Afghanistan. What happened to his wives and children?

    On 10 September 2001, Osama bin Laden’s wives were ordered to pack one suitcase each. No one would say why, only that their husband wanted to move them and his youngest children away from Kandahar. His older sons were to join their father and other brothers at an undisclosed location. The only boy left behind was nine-year-old Ladin, a timid child who flinched at the sound of gunfire. He, the women and other children filed on to a corroding Soviet-era bus smeared with mud, setting off on a dirt track parallel to the Silk Road.

    When the engine stops, you get off, Osama told them.

    The children fought over a battered Nintendo or scanned their father’s transistor for snatches of Madonna

    Osama’s grandsons pelted guards with stones, shouting, 'We have been illegally kidnapped and hidden in this secret jail'

    Slipping off her niqab, Iman swaddled a doll as if it were a baby, and made her escape

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    The 22-year-old was influenced in part by the people who formed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a little-known al-Qaida affiliate outlawed in 2004

    “Whoever played with his mind, as he saw the kids coming out [of the arena] – all the happy faces – he should have changed his mind.” Those were the words late last week of Hisham Ben Ghalbon, a proud Manchester resident, a Libyan and a man, like so many others, wondering how what happened at the Manchester Arena ever came to pass.

    Tragically, 22-year-old Salman Abedi didn’t change his mind. But what had formed and shaped its deadly rage? The search for an answer leads into the labyrinth of Libyan extremist politics of 20 years ago. A thread of resentment, violence and hardline theology that can be traced through Afghanistan and Gaddafi’s Libya, all the way to that country’s “second capital”, as Ghalbon puts it: Manchester.

    Related: Large part of Manchester attack network detained, police say

    Related: The Libya fallout shows how Theresa May has failed on terror | Paul Mason

    Related: Manchester attack: UK terror threat level down from critical to severe

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    Son of Osama bin Laden called for strikes against ‘Jews’ and ‘Crusaders’ 10 days before Manchester suicide bombing

    His name alone is enough to guarantee headlines and the attention of the world’s security services. Though only about 25 years old, his words are urgently picked over by analysts and officials seeking to understand the new threat posed to the west by Islamist militancy. He is Hamza bin Laden, the son and “heir apparent” of his father, Osama, the late founder and leader of al-Qaida.

    Ten days before the bombing in Manchester last week, Hamza’s voice was heard on a new audio tape issued by al-Qaida calling for strikes by followers against “Jews” and “Crusaders”.

    Related: Terrorists see reason in madness of targeting public events | Jason Burke

    Related: Osama bin Laden’s family on the run: ‘I never stopped praying our lives might return to normal’

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  • 06/07/17--10:08: Adnan Khashoggi obituary
  • Saudi businessman, arms dealer and fixer known for his extravagant lifestyle

    The life of Adnan Khashoggi, who has died aged 81, did not imitate art but prompted it. The sybaritic Saudi middleman inspired the image of the influential fixer who spent his days arranging huge arms deals and meeting presidents and tycoons, and his nights partying with beautiful women aboard yachts and planes or in palatial homes.

    He was the model for Harold Robbins’ bestseller The Pirate, published in 1974, though he was a rather less glamorous figure than the protagonist Baydr al Fay. The title of a 1986 book by Ronald Kessler referred to Khashoggi as The Richest Man in the World. That claim was as fictional as Robbins’ hero. Khashoggi only spent like the world’s richest man: 12 homes, 1,000 suits, $70m on his third yacht and $40m on a customised Douglas DC-8 described as a flying Las Vegas discotheque. With Khashoggi – who loathed being described as an arms dealer – more was always more.

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    Capture of giant Tora Bora complex would mark major victory for group as it clashes with Taliban

    Islamic State fighters have captured some territory around Tora Bora, the former stronghold of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, officials said on Wednesday.

    The push and capture of the giant cave complex that once housed the late al-Qaida chief would be a major victory for the Islamic State group in its increasingly deadly rivalry with the Afghan Taliban. The caves had until now been under Taliban control.

    Related: Trump's defense chief admits struggle in Afghanistan: 'We are not winning'

    Related: Devastation and a war that rages on: visiting the valley hit by the Moab attack

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    Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy’s gripping history of the terrorist network, from 2001 to the present, reveals a dark web of familial and political machinations

    In the days following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, there was a surge of interest in the family of the al-Qaida founder and leader. One son had been shot dead during the raid on the high-walled house in the northern garrison town of Abbottabad, while confused reports described at least a dozen children or grandchildren, and between two and four wives, left stunned and bloodied by the US special forces when they left.

    But the story moved on. Three years later, al-Qaida was pushed into the shadows by a breakaway faction, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis). The centre of gravity of Islamic militancy seemed to have shifted decisively to the Levant. The family of bin Laden were forgotten.

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    The investigative reporters have produced a revelatory work about al-Qaida members in hiding in Pakistan and Iran between 2001 and 2011

    At the time of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, Osama bin Laden was in an Afghan cave, unable to get a decent TV satellite signal and forced to follow developments on the radio. The contrast between his situation and his impact was to be a theme of the next decade until, eventually, the Americans caught up with him in the raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. It’s a decade that The Exile describes with a remarkable amount of impressive new detail.

    Investigative reporters Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy start with a detailed account of Bin Laden’s movements. When the US air strikes began, he flitted through various locations in Afghanistan, all the while trying to manage the movements of his wives and children. He was on his way to a meeting with Mullah Omar in Kandahar on 7 October 2001 when a US drone came close to killing them both. From there he moved to an underground complex in the Tora Bora mountains near the Pakistan border. The US assaulted Tora Bora but, again, Bin Laden managed to slip away, and on 14 December 2001 he turned up in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Feeling too exposed there, he moved back to Afghanistan in February 2002 before reaching northern Pakistan in the summer. There he lived with one of his wives, Amal, and their nine-month-old daughter Safiyah in the remote village of Kutkey, home to the in-laws of his courier and guard, Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti.

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    CIA released journal as part of 470,000 documents collected from Bin Laden’s house, showing he visited the UK as a teenager and found it to be ‘decadent’

    A summer trip to the UK as a teenager and visits to Shakespeare’s birthplace convinced Osama bin Laden that the west was “decadent”, the late leader of al-Qaida and architect of the 9/11 attacks wrote in his personal journal shortly before he was killed by US special forces in 2011.

    The journal is among 470,000 documents collected from the house where Bin Laden died that were released by the CIA on Wednesday. The agency said it had released the treasure trove “in the interest of transparency and to enhance public understanding of al-Qaida and [bin Laden].”

    Today we released nearly 470,000 files recovered in 2011 raid on Usama Bin Ladin’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.https://t.co/QZcoAu3uEwpic.twitter.com/Dn8awV9ndn

    Related: Isis captures territory around former Bin Laden stronghold in Afghanistan

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    The CIA has released previously unseen video of Osama bin Laden's son and potential successor in a trove of material recovered during the May 2011 raid that killed the al-Qaida leader at his compound in Pakistan. The video offers the first public look at Hamza bin Laden as an adult. Until now, only childhood pictures of him have been seen

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    It tells US president the 1,800-mile barrier will help end the Afghan war and reduce terrorism

    Pakistan is building a fence along its border with Afghanistan, and it wants Donald Trump to pay for it – or at least some of it.

    The 1,800-mile barrier being constructed will help end “the prolonged agony” of the Afghan war and reduce terrorism inside Pakistan, said Nasir Khan Janjua, the national security adviser to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the prime minister.

    Related: 'Now is not the time': violence forces refugees to flee Afghanistan again

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    The new drama retells the build-up to the terror attack and how the US’s intelligences services let tribalism and ego get in the way of national interest

    There is a shot, 12 minutes into Hulu and Amazon’s new series The Looming Tower, that serves as the show’s first real jaw-dropper – but it’s so brief that if you blink, you miss it. We have just seen an archive newsreel of Osama bin Laden giving an interview to an ABC reporter from a mountaintop camp in the Hindu Kush, explicitly announcing a terrorist attack in the coming weeks that would target US civilians.

    Related: The Looming Tower review – thorough, thrilling drama retells the road to 9/11

    Related: Review: The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright

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    He spent eight years in counter-terrorism before his objection to the US’s use of torture led to his departure. Now, he says, the west must learn from its mistakes: ‘If we don’t, we will suffer for years to come’

    Some American teenagers dream of a glamorous career in the FBI, a chance to shoot guns and catch criminals, but the idea had not occurred to Ali Soufan. At least, not until The X Files. “Mulder and Scully were going round the world looking for aliens,” he says, laughing. It looked fun. Besides, he did not believe he would get in; he was just intrigued by the process. Why did he think they would not accept him? “Well, look at me; I don’t look like an FBI agent, at least I didn’t at the time.” He was an Arab-American and a bit of an intellectual. “I just felt that I wasn’t a law-enforcement guy, that wasn’t what I wanted to do in my life. But I went, I took all the tests.” They offered him a job. Soufan, who had just completed a master’s in foreign relations, thought he would return to academia if it did not work out.

    It was 1997 and Soufan was in his mid-20s. Because of his background – he was born in Lebanon and spoke Arabic – he was assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was focused on Palestinian and Iraqi groups. But he had become interested in Osama bin Laden while reading Arabic newspapers as a student and in 1998 wrote a memo on Bin Laden for his superiors. It made it all the way up to the head of the national security division, John O’Neill, who would become a mentor and friend (O’Neill later became head of security at the World Trade Center and was killed on 9/11). The FBI and the CIA were already monitoring Bin Laden but Soufan claims “they only looked at him as a financier of terrorism, not as a terrorist operative”.

    I suggest we have to have empathy – understanding the enemy, seeing the world through their eyes

    People who were involved in torture are coming back to run the show, to rewrite history, and I think that is a problem

    Related: Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA director after key Democrats vote in favor

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    Nearly 17 years since 9/11, Osama bin Laden’s family remains an influential part of Saudi society – as well as a reminder of the darkest moment in the kingdom’s history. Can they escape his legacy?

    On the corner couch of a spacious room, a woman wearing a brightly patterned robe sits expectantly. The red hijab that covers her hair is reflected in a glass-fronted cabinet; inside, a framed photograph of her firstborn son takes pride of place between family heirlooms and valuables. A smiling, bearded figure wearing a military jacket, he features in photographs around the room: propped against the wall at her feet, resting on a mantlepiece. A supper of Saudi meze and a lemon cheesecake has been spread out on a large wooden dining table.

    Alia Ghanem is Osama bin Laden’s mother, and she commands the attention of everyone in the room. On chairs nearby sit two of her surviving sons, Ahmad and Hassan, and her second husband, Mohammed al-Attas, the man who raised all three brothers. Everyone in the family has their own story to tell about the man linked to the rise of global terrorism; but it is Ghanem who holds court today, describing a man who is, to her, still a beloved son who somehow lost his way. “My life was very difficult because he was so far away from me,” she says, speaking confidently. “He was a very good kid and he loved me so much.” Now in her mid-70s and in variable health, Ghanem points at al-Attas – a lean, fit man dressed, like his two sons, in an immaculately pressed white thobe, a gown worn by men across the Arabian peninsula. “He raised Osama from the age of three. He was a good man, and he was good to Osama.”

    'He met some people who pretty much brainwashed him in his early 20s. You can call it a cult'

    Reform is beginning to creep through Saudi society; the ban on women drivers has been lifted, cinemas have opened

    Osama's son Hamza may well cloud the family’s attempts to shake off their past

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    Exclusive: union confirmed by Osama bin Laden’s family during interview with the Guardian

    Hamza bin Laden, the son of the late al-Qaida leader, has married the daughter of Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker in the 9/11 terror attacks, according to his family.

    The union was mentioned by Osama bin Laden’s half-brothers during an interview with the Guardian. Ahmad and Hassan al-Attas said they believed Hamza had taken a senior position within al-Qaida and was aiming to avenge the death of his father, shot dead during a US military raid in Pakistan seven years ago.

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    مرّت حوالى 17 سنة على هجمات الحادي عشر من ايلول/سبتمبر، وعائلة بن لادن لا تزال جزءاً بارزاً من المجتمع السعودي- وهي كذلك شاهد على أحلك اللحظات في تاريخ المملكة. والسؤال هو هل في الإمكان النجاة من شراك إرثه؟

    على أريكة الزاوية في غرفة واسعة، تجلس سيدة ترتدي ثوباً موشحاً بألوان زاهية، والترقّب يعلو وجهها. انعكاس الحجاب الأحمر الذي يستر شعرها، يظهر في واجهة الخزانة الزجاجية المقابلة. داخل الواجهة، صورة مؤطّرة لإبنها البكر تتصدّر الأشياء الثمينة وتلك المتناقلة من جيل إلى آخر. وجه بشوش وملتحٍ. يرتدي سترة عسكرية، يظهر في صور عديدة موزّعة على أنحاء الغرفة: واحدة منها تستند إلى الحائط فوق رفّ. ثمة عشاء خفيف من المازة السعودية وفطيرة جبن بنكهة الليمون يعلو طاولة طعام خشبية واسعة.

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    A memoir of a decade at the highest levels of Islamist militancy by a double agent known as ‘Aimen Dean’ is extraordinary

    When the Taliban regime in Afghanistan collapsed in November 2001, journalists who had been waiting in parts of the country outside the Islamist regime’s authority or in neighbouring Pakistan rushed to bombed-out and deserted training camps where al-Qaida had built the strike force that had carried out the 9/11 attacks.

    I was in the eastern city of Jalalabad as opposition forces still skirmished with al-Qaida remnants on the evening of the city’s fall. After a night in the one functioning hotel, I drove a few miles down the rutted road to Kabul. On several reporting trips into Afghanistan under the Taliban I had heard of a training camp near a reservoir called Darunta, a mile off the main road. It wasn’t hard to reach: a complex of mud huts and barracks down a short road.

    Much is gripping ... but above all it is the human story that captivates. Dean ends up spying on his own family

    Related: My son, Osama: the al-Qaida leader’s mother speaks for the first time

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