Monday, May 2, 2011

Yemen hails death of Osama bin Laden


DUBAI, May 2, 2011- Osama bin Laden's ancestral homeland Yemen on Monday welcomed his death as "the beginning of the end of terror" while his acolytes called it a "catastrophe" and vowed to keep up jihad, or holy war.

"We hope the killing of Bin Laden will be the beginning of the end of terror," a Yemeni government official said, asking not to be identified.

Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda branches in January 2009 merged to form the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and have been posing a serious threat to US interests as well as to the embattled Yemeni government.

A member of AQAP on Monday admitted to AFP that the chief of the extremist network had been killed, calling it a "catastrophe."

"This news has been a catastrophe for us. At first we did not believe it, but we got in touch with our brothers in Pakistan who have confirmed it," a member reached by telephone told an AFP correspondent.

An Internet outlet for official messages from Al-Qaeda has been deleting posts of Osama's death and pledged that the jihad, or holy war, will continue, US monitoring group SITE reported on Monday.

It said the Shumukh al-Islam forum has been asking users to wait for confirmation of Bin Laden's death before making any more posts, but there was a heavy flow of messages offering prayers and vowing that jihad will continue.

Users also posted threats against the United States.

"America will reap the same if the news (of his death) is true (or) false," one read. "The lions will remain lions and will continue moving in the footsteps of Osama," said another.

In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood said it did not endorse the tactics of Al-Qaeda, but hailed Osama's "commitment and dedication to his ideology to his death."

Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu Bakr warned that another Al-Qaeda could emerge unless the international community changed its attitude towards Islam, the Palestinian issue and corrupt leaders in the Middle East.

Israel was quick to celebrate the assassination of Al-Qaeda leader at the hands of US forces in Pakistan, calling it a "resounding victory for justice."

"The state of Israel joins the American people on this historic day in celebrating the elimination of Osama Bin Laden," the Israeli premier said in a statement released by his office.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulates US President Barack Obama, the US military and its intelligence services on this great accomplishment.

"This is a resounding victory for justice, freedom and the common values of all democracies that are resolutely fighting shoulder to shoulder against terrorism."

In Iraq, there was no immediate reaction from the Baghdad government, but US forces there said they suspected that Osama's death may provoke retaliatory attacks against US interests.

"We recognise that the death of bin Laden may result in a violent reaction from Al-Qaeda in Iraq and other extremist organisations that loosely affiliate with the Al-Qaeda network," spokesman Colonel Barry Johnson said.

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