Qaeda, al-

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Qaeda, al- (Arabic, ‘the base’) Loose network of terrorist groups led by the Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden. Groups connected to al-Qaeda were linked to a number of terrorist acts in the late 20th and early 21st century, including the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, and the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., which killed c.2,750 people on September 11, 2001. Al-Qaeda targets western interests that it sees as a threat to Islam. On October 8, 2001, US President George W. Bush launched air strikes against Afghanistan, targeting al-Qaeda bases and the Taliban government, which had refused to hand over bin Laden. See also jihad