DUBAI: The late founder of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, spent his fortune on financing “holy war” including the September 11 US attacks in 2001, said current al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in an Internet video. “The rich sheikh Osama… has spent all his money on jihad,” said Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s number two who took charge of the jihadist group after the world’s most wanted man was killed in a US raid on a Pakistani hideout in May last year. Zawahiri’s message, posted on Islamist websites, was introduced as the second part of his memoirs on the life of Bin Laden. He said that Bin Laden’s personal life was “austere” and he was “very stingy in spending on anything other than jihad.” The Saudi-born leader was fiercely against charity work “at the expense of jihad.” The wealth of Bin Laden, who came from a rich family behind grandiose construction projects in the oil-rich kingdom, is estimated at between $30 million and $300 million, but some estimates put it at one billion dollars.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.
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