Wadih el Hage

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Wadih el Hage (1960-) is an al-Qaeda member who had been Osama bin Laden's secretary, and then the operational head of the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Africa. He is serving a life term in U.S. prison.

Early life

Born into a Catholic family in Sidon, Lebanon, he grew up in Kuwait where his father worked for an oil company, and converted to [[Islam[[ as a teenager. His family rejected him, but he was sponsored by Muslims in Kuwait. In 1978, El Hage moved to Lafayette, Louisiana, to attend the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL), studying urban planning. His advisor at USL remembers El Hage as an average student who showed no signs of strong political views.

Joining the Mudjahadeen

He left college to join the Afghanistan War (1978-1992), where he was a follower of Abdullah Azzam. [1]

He returned to the United States in 1985, married an 18-year-old American Muslim through an arranged marriage, and graduated from USL in 1986. "El Hage and his wife returned to Pakistan several times over the next few years, and for about a year, his mother-in-law and her husband accompanied them. "I was the Matron surgical nurse at an Afghan Surgical Hospital," she told FRONTLINE. "Wadih did not actually fight, but acted as an educator. My husband went with Wadih to deliver textbooks and Korans to the young people. It was a Jihad, a fight for Islam."

New York

When they returned to Arizona, El Hage worked at several minimum wage jobs, including city custodian. In 1989, he was granted U.S. citizenship." El-Hage had been a prison visitor to El Sayyid Nosair, who had been involved in the 1990 shooting of Rabbi Meir Kahane in prison. El-Hage also provided weapons acquired some weapons for Mahmoud Abouhalima, a confederate of Nosair. Both Nosair and Ahouhalima were associated with al-Khifa and the Jersey City, New Jersey, mosque of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman after the Kahane murder.


  1. Oriana Zill, "A Portrait of Wadih el Hage, Accused Terrorist", PBS Frontline