The photos were released by the U.S. Department of Justice to be used as evidence in the terrorism conspiracy trial against bin Laden’s lieutenant Khald al-Fawwaz, taking place in Manhattan.
The set of photos, captured by Palestinian journalist Abdel Barri Atwan, shows bin Laden in his Tora Bora lair in Afghanistan, to which he fled after the 9/11 attacks.
Despite being a free man back then, bin Laden was already hiding in fear that the US had him targeted.
The year was 1996 and Osama bin Laden was not a household name, despite his declaration of war against the United States.
Following the publication of bin Laden’s religious decree against the U.S. in his London weekly newspaper; Atwan was invited by Al-Qaeda’s communications lieutenant al-Fawwaz to conduct the first print interview with the emerging terrorist in Afghanistan.
Atwan’s invitation was part of the future arch-terrorist’s propaganda campaign against the US, partly for its presence in Saudi Arabia. “He wanted media exposure,” Atwan said in a 2006 book called The Osama bin Laden I Know. “He wants to say, ‘Now I am an international figure; I’m not just a Saudi. I am aggrieved at Americans who are occupying Saudi Arabia who are desecrating the Holy Land’ “.
“I was told that Osama bin Laden was fond of my writing, he liked my style, and he wanted to meet me personally”, Atwan added.
The photos were found in 1998 during the Scotland Yard’s search of al-Fawwaz’s home in London, according to CNN.
[via The Telegraph]