On November 20, 1979, the first morning of a new Muslim century, hundreds of gunmen stunned the world by seizing Islam's holiest shrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. These men came from more than a dozen countries, launching the first operation of global jihad in modern times. They believed that the Saudi royal family had become a craven servant of American infidels, and sought a return to the glory of uncompromising Islam. With nearly 100,000 worshippers trapped inside the holy compound, the bloody siege lasted two weeks, inflaming Muslim rage against the U.S. and causing hundreds of deaths. The desperate Saudis finally enlisted the help of French commandos, who prepared the final assault. The Saudi royal family ultimately compromised with the rebels' supporters, helping to set free the forces that produced the attacks of 9/11 and the harrowing circumstances that surround us today.--From publisher description.