Newly surfaced photos of Usama bin Laden, taken in his Tora Bora hideout in the years before he launched the deadliest terror attack in U.S. history, and more than a decade before Navy SEALs killed him in his squalid Pakistan compound, show the Al Qaeda mastermind surrounded by guns, books and terrorist toadies.
The pictures were taken in 1996 by Palestinian journalist Abdel Barri Atwan, and introduced at a trial in Manhattan federal court of former Bin Laden deputy Khaled al-Fawwaz. Al-Fawwaz was convicted of conspiracy in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa and sentenced to life in prison.
The Saudi-born Bin Laden, who went to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight the Russians, and hid there before and after the 9/11 attacks, lived in a primitive mountain home made of mud and stone. Photos show him smiling with fresh-faced cronies, seated amid massive shelves of books and grinning with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder.
Bin Laden had declared war on the United States and summoned Atwan, who was then-editor-in-chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, an independent Arabic weekly published in London, to his hideout in an effort to get his jihadist message out to the world.
The photographs were found by Scotland Yard detectives in a search years later of al-Fawwaz's London home.
Also appearing in the photos is a man who remains at large, Syrian firebrand Abu Musab al-Suri, an influential militant whose whereabouts are unknown.
Bin Laden had left Afghanistan in the early 1990s and moved to Sudan, but he was kicked out under pressure from the U.S. in 1996 and resurfaced in Afghanistan.
The 9/11 attacks, ordered by Bin Laden and carried out by 19 terrorist hijackers, killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Ten years later, Bin Laden was killed by a team of CIA operatives and Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011, in a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
After the raid, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, his body was dumped at sea.