“They want me, not you,” were the words Osama bin Laden uttered to his family as US navy Seals surrounded his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan on 2 May 2011. These were to be among the last words he would to say to them as recounted in a new book published by Bloomsbury, which tells of the 9/11 mastermind’s final moments from the perspective of his wife Amal. This is the first account of his last minutes given by a surviving family member.
Amal bin Laden has been described by her family as a determined young woman. She was a high school dropout eager to learn more and achieve more than her limited life allowed. She is said to have told friends and family that she wished to “go down in history” – a goal she has now achieved.
It all began in 1999 when she became the youngest of four wives. Bin Laden’s first wife Najwa married him as a teenager and had 11 children with him. However, she left him two days before the 9/11 attacks. His second wife Khairiah had been his children’s psychologist before marrying him and his third wife Seham had been a teacher. Amal was a teenager when they married and had been with him in Pakistan since 2002 – longer than any of his other wives.
She lived in the compound, dubbed “Warzistan Palace” by locals, with their six children, Kairiah, Seham and Seham’s son Khalid. However, what makes Amal’s story particularly pertinent is the fact that she was in the room with their son Hussein when US Special Forces killed the famed terrorist.