In early spring 2002, American intelligence agents tipped off authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina that something wasn't quite right with the "Benevolence International Foundation." Their reaction was swift; special forces stormed eight offices of the Islamic foundation in Sarajevo and in Zenica.
They found weapons and explosives, videos and flyers calling for holy war.
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As Salafist jihadists, they believe that the killing of non-combatants is religiously sanctioned, but they ignore any aspect of religious scripture which might be interpreted as forbidding the murder of non-combatants and internecine fighting.Marc Sageman, a psychiatrist and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, said that al-Qaeda is now just a "loose label for a movement that seems to target the west. We like to create a mythical entity called [al-Qaeda] in our minds, but that is not the reality we are dealing with." ... and all the true believers [mu'mineen] are brothers. So this place was called 'The Base' ['Al-Qa'idah'], as in a training base, so this name grew and became. We are the children of a nation, and we are an inseparable part of it, and from those public *** which spread from the far east, from the Philippines, to Indonesia, to Malaysia, to India, to Pakistan, reaching Mauritania... Osama bin Laden was the most historically notable emir, or commander, and Senior Operations Chief of al-Qaeda prior to his assassination on May 1, 2011 by US forces.So the situation isn't like the West portrays it, that there is an 'organization' with a specific name (such as 'al-Qa'idah') and so on. Atiyah Abd al-Rahman was alleged to be second in command prior to his death on August 22, 2011.Al-Qaeda has mounted attacks on civilian and military targets in various countries, including the 1998 U. embassy bombings, the September 11 attacks, and the 2002 Bali bombings. With the loss of key leaders, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda's operations have devolved from actions that were controlled from the top down, to actions by associated groups and lone-wolf operators.Characteristic techniques employed by al-Qaeda include suicide attacks and the simultaneous bombing of different targets.