Obama announces Bin Laden dead

02/05/2011 12:40
Asia-PLus
Views: 10717

DUSHANBE, May 2, 2011, Asia-Plus – International outlets report U.S. President Barrack Obama announced that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan on Sunday.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is dead, President Obama announced, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.  Obama said the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States was killed in a U.S.-led operation inside Pakistan and that the United States is in possession of his body.

His death, confirmed by officials in Pakistan, was a huge symbolic blow to al Qaeda, which has been beaten back but is still a threat in many countries, Reuters reports.

According to the BBC, a team of US forces undertook the operation in Abbottabad, 100 kilometers north-east of Islamabad on May 1.

Giving more details of the operation, a senior US official said a small US team had conducted the operation in about 40 minutes, the BBC reports.  One helicopter was lost due to "technical failure". The team destroyed it and left in its other aircraft.  "After a firefight, US forces killed Osama Bin Laden and took custody of his body."

Three other men were killed in the raid - one of Bin Laden's sons and two couriers - the official said, adding that one woman was also killed when she was used as "a shield" and two other women were injured.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says that, to many in the West, Bin Laden became the embodiment of global terrorism, but to others he was a hero, a devout Muslim who fought two world superpowers in the name of jihad.

The son of a wealthy Saudi construction family, Bin Laden grew up in a privileged world.  But soon after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan he joined the mujahideen there and fought alongside them with his Arab followers, a group that later formed the nucleus for al-Qaeda.

After declaring war on America in 1998, Bin Laden is widely believed to have been behind the bombings of US embassies in East Africa, the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 and the attacks on New York and Washington.  He evaded the forces of the US and its allies for almost a decade, despite a $25m bounty on his head.

Bin Laden's death triggered a travel alert for Americans worldwide, the U.S. State Department said, warning of the potential for anti-American violence.

Bin Laden had been the subject of a search since he eluded U.S. soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora Mountains of Afghanistan in 2001.  The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.  While in hiding, bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his militant Islamist views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway.

Reuters reports some experts describe bib Laden’s death as blow to al-Qaeda, while other experts are more cautious.

Martin Indyk, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, described bin Laden's death as "a body blow" to al Qaeda at a time when its ideology was already being undercut by the popular revolutions in the Arab world, according to Reuters.  In the meantime, Reuters quoted Rick Nelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington as saying, “It changes little in terms of on-the-ground realities -- by the time of his death bin Laden was not delivering operational or tactical orders to the numerous al Qaeda affiliates across the world.”

Having the body may help convince any doubters that bin Laden is really dead.

The United States is ensuring that bin Laden's body is being handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition, a U.S. official said, Reuters said. 

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