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March 24, 2023

U.S. forces kill elusive terror figure Osama bin Laden in Pakistan

Bin Laden’s body buried at sea.

Washington – Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil, is dead – almost 10 years after the attacks that killed about 3,000 people, CNN reports. The founder and leader of al Qaeda was killed by U.S. forces Monday in a mansion in Abbottabad, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, U.S. officials said.

Four others in the compound were also killed. One of them was bin Laden’s adult son, and another was a woman being used as a shield by a male combatant, the officials said.
Bin Laden’s body was later buried at sea, an official said. Many Muslims adhere to the belief that bodies should be buried within one day.

The official did not release additional details about the burial, but said it was handled in keeping with Muslim customs.
The dilemma of what to do with Osama bin Laden’s body appears to have been quickly resolved if reports that he has been buried at sea prove correct, The Guardian reports. Burying him on land could have led to his grave becoming a centre of contention as well as raising questions about where he should be buried. “Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult,” a US official said, adding: “So the US decided to bury him at sea.” Fears about Bin Laden’s burial place turning into a shrine for Islamists were probably unfounded, since the Wah­habi/Salafi tradition rejects such things. Even Saudi kings are buried in unmarked graves.

Senior US officials initially told news agencies that his body would be disposed of in accordance with Islamic tradition, which involves ritual washing, shrouding and burial within 24 hours.
In an address to the nation Sunday night, U.S. President Barack Obama called bin Laden’s death “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.” Washington is nine hours behind Pakistan, CNN informs.

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” Obama said. “A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.” A congressional source familiar with the operation said bin Laden was shot in the head.

The killing of bin Laden was the culmination of years of intelligence work and months of following a specific lead, senior U.S. administration officials said.
The key break involved one of the few couriers trusted by bin Laden, according to the officials. About two years ago, intelligence work identified where the courier and his brother lived and operated in Pakistan, and it took until August to find the compound in Abbottabad that was raided, they said.According to the senior administration officials, intelligence work determined at the beginning of 2011 that bin Laden might be located at the compound in Pakistan.

Obama chaired five National Security Council meetings from mid-March until late April, with the last two on April 19 and April 28 — last Thursday.
Footage that aired Monday on CNN affiliate GEO TV showed fire and smoke spewing from the compound where bin Laden was killed.
A senior national security official told CNN that officials had multiple confirmations that the body was bin Laden’s, saying they had the “ability to run images of the body and the face.”
In New York, a cheering crowd gathered at ground zero – the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood before bin Laden’s terrorist group flew two planes into the buildings on September 11, 2001. Strains of “God Bless America” could be heard intermittently tricklin.

Former US President George W. Bush

This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.

Former US President Bill Clinton

This is a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaeda’s other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and co-operation for our children.  Congratulate the president, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al-Qaeda attacks.

British PM David Cameron

The leader said he welcomed news of bin Laden’s death. “Osama bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen — for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives,” he said. “This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones,” he said. “It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism.”

EC President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy

The leaders said bin Laden’s death shows that bad deeds do not go unpunished. “Osama bin Laden was a criminal responsible for heinous terrorist attacks that cost the lives of thousands of innocent people,” both said in a joint statement. “His death makes the world a safer place and shows that such crimes do not remain unpunished.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Sarkozy said bin Laden’s death was a result of a “remarkable U.S. commando” operation. “Osama Bin Laden was a promoter of the ideology of hatred and was the chief of a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of thousands of victims, especially in Muslim countries,” he said. “For his victims, justice has been done. Today, in France, we think of them and their families.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel said the death is a major setback for the terror group. “With the commando action against Osama bin Laden and his killing, the U.S. military has achieved a decisive strike against al Qaeda,” she said. “At his command and in his name, terror was enforced into many countries against men women and children, Christians as well as Muslims. Osama bin Laden suggested that he was operating in the name of Islam, but in reality he makes a mockery of the fundamental values of his own and every other religion.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres

“The end of bin Laden is a great piece of news for the free world,” he said. “This man was a mega murderer, he killed thousands and thousands of people, people who were totally innocent, and would continue to kill, his purpose in life was to kill anybody who doesn’t belong to him.”


“This is a significant success for the security of NATO allies and all the nations which have joined us in our efforts to combat the scourge of global terrorism to make the world a safer place for all of us,” it said in a statement. “NATO made clear that it considered the September 11 attacks on the United States an attack against all allies. We remember the thousands of innocent lives lost to terrorist atrocities in so many of our nations, in Afghanistan, and around the world.”


Russia said it is ready to help step up efforts to combat terror, saying only joint efforts can produce results. “Russia was among the first countries to face the dangers inherent in global terrorism, and unfortunately knows what al Qaeda is not from hearsay,” the Kremlin said. “Retribution will inevitably reach all terrorists.”

The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi

“Osama bin Laden, as we all know, had the very grave responsibility of spreading division and hatred amongst the people, causing the death of countless of people, and of instrumentalizing religion for this end,” he said. “In front of the death of man, a Christian never rejoices but rather reflects on the grave responsibility of each one in front of God and men, and hopes and commits himself so that every moment not be an occasion for hatred to grow but for peace.”


Stocks higher, oil and gold drop

The market reaction was almost immediate: stocks and the US dollar higher, commodities lower. With a little bit of sleep, investors are likely to conclude that while this news is indeed a great shot in the arm of the national psyche, it should have little long-term impact on the economy and financial assets.

Let’s start with the numbers: European and Asian stock markets hit two-month highs, though volume was light due to holidays in UK, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Tokyo’s Nikkei average was up 1.6 percent and closed above the key 10,000 level for the first time since March 11 – the day of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

US stock futures are up approximately 0.6 percent the US dollar is firming after a nine-day slide that left the greenback at the lowest level in three years. Commodities markets tumbled, with oil down over 2 percent and gold dropping 0.7 percent. The big loser was silver, which plunged as much as 13 percent and is currently off 6.5 percent, due to new exchange rules limiting speculative positions.


Romanian reactions

FM Baconschi: artificial panic, counterproductive

Commenting on the decision to keep terrorist alert level unchanged in Romania, according to the interior minister’s announcement, FM Teodor Baconschi stated on Monday that ‘all artificial state of panic is counterproductive’. Asked to give his opinion on what Interior Minister Traian Igas had said, announcing that the terrorist alert level would not be changed in Romania, Baconschi answered: ‘I agree that any artificial panic is counter-productive’. He added that the intelligence services had not sent any signals requiring such a decision to be made.

Interior Ministry: alert level in romania stays unchanged

Asked on Monday, before the meeting of the National Standing Bureau (BPN) of PDL, if any measures were going to be taken against possible terrorist attacks, Administration and Interior Minister Traian Igas said the authorities would need to be prepared at all times, but that, as far as he was concerned, the terrorist alert level in Romania would not be changed. ‘We must be prepared at all times also for terrorist attacks, if we discuss about terrorist attacks, but I think we should not scare anyone and just remain cautious, but I don’t think there is any need to worry’, Igas explained.

PSD leader Ponta: good signal for the western world

PSD President Victor Ponta told RFI that the killing of terrorist leader Osama ben Laden was ‘a good signal for the Western world’, adding, however, that ‘killing one person is not going to stop a phenomenon’. Victor Ponta hopes the reactions of the Islamic world will not be ‘bad’. ‘I like it when people who… murderers, killers, criminals are brought to trial. But, anyway, I believe this to be a good signal for the Western world. I hope the reactions in the Islamic world will not be as bad as we can imagine them at this point’, Ponta said.
He added that ‘killing one person is not going to stop a phenomenon and that the Islamic terrorism is already a global phenomenon’.

Diaconescu: Al-Qaida reactions need thorough monitoring

Ex Foreign Affairs Minister Cristian Diaconescu said the killing of Osama bin Laden is an important moment in the fight against terrorism and that the reactions of the terrorist network al-Qaeda need thorough monitoring. Diaconescu said the killing of Osama bin Laden was an important operation in the fight against terrorism.
‘Osama bin Laden was considered to be a symbol and this represents an especially important moment that calls for further steps towards restoring a normal situation ad reducing terrorist network al-Qaeda’s operating capacity to a minimum’, he added.

‘We will need to follow closely al-Qaeda’s response. Either the reactions of the terrorist network will have a dangerous potential, or the structure may slip into a state of disorganization’ said Diaconescu.

Former PM Roman: this is not going to resolve the situation in Afghanistan

Ex-PM Petre Roman said the killing of the leader of terrorist network al-Qaeda, Osama ben Laden, was a real satisfaction for the Americans, but added that it was not going to resolve the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which calls for a political solution. ‘It is a real satisfaction for the Americans, especially after the 9/11 episode that was an equally horrible and surprising attack, making the US look so vulnerable, like a modern Pearl Harbor. It is a real satisfaction for the Americans, given by the fact that the person who organized a terrorist attack at the heart of the US was captured and killed’, said Petre Roman.
Roman thinks that the killing of ben Laden is not going to resolve the problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of the incapacity of leading anti-terrorist operations towards a lasting and real political solution.

Cristian Preda: result of ten-years’ effort of american democracy

The killing of Osama bin Laden is the result of ten years’ efforts of the American democracy and consolidates the trend expressed in the last few months by the movements challenging authoritarian leaders in the Arab world, says MEP Cristian Preda.

‘The killing of Osama bin Laden is the result of ten years of efforts of the American democracy and its allies against a new threat for the Western world. This victory of democracy consolidates the trend expressed in the last few months by the movements challenging authoritarian leaders in the Arab world,’ Preda writes on his blog.

Corlatean: extreme reactions not excluded

The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Titus Corlatean, told Mediafax on Monday that the killing of Osama bin Laden was a victory of the international effort against terrorism. ‘In a civilized world, people committing crimes in the name of so-called ideals not even the Islam proclaims in reality have to pay’, he added. The senator said that, in the upcoming period, the countries of the international coalition that fought in Afghanistan would need to take extra precautions.

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