|Osama bin Laden killed by US forces|
US officials say al-Qaeda leader buried at sea after night-time raid on compound north of Pakistani capital.
Last Modified: 02 May 2011 16:53
Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and once the most-wanted fugitive on the US list, has been killed in a firefight with American forces in Pakistan and quickly buried at sea, after a decade on the run.
Long believed to be hiding in the mountainous tribal region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Bin Laden was tracked down in a custom-built mansion in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, 61km north of the capital, Islamabad.
Confronted by elite US forces who dropped by helicopter into the compound, bin Laden was shot dead in a 40-minute operation under the cover of night, US officials said.
"Justice has been done," Barack Obama, the US president, announced in a televised address late on Sunday, sparking jubilant celebrations across the US.
"A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
Obama said the "United States is not and will never be at war against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader, in fact, he slaughtered many Muslims".
Four people, including one of bin Laden's sons, were also killed in the operation. After the firefight, US officials said they used "multiple methods" to positively identify bin Laden's remains.
Obama administration officials said on Monday that DNA tests confirmed the death, providing a match with 99.9 per cent confidence.
The US is believed to have collected DNA samples from bin Laden family members in the years since the September 11, 2001, attacks that triggered the US-led invasion of Afghanistan
Unnamed US officials said bin Laden's body was quickly buried in the waters of the north Arabian Sea after the operation, adhering to Islamic procedures including washing the corpse, the AP news agency reported.
"We wanted to avoid a situation where it would become a shrine," the AFP news agency quoted one official as saying.
According to Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan in Washington, the operation had been in the making for the last nine or 10 months.
"The fact that it happened inside Pakistan, there have been suggestions that Pakistani intelligence may have been protecting them," she said.
Patty Culhane, another Al Jazeera correspondent, said US authorities received intelligence last September and were able to track bin Laden down through his couriers.
They followed them to the compound, which was reported to be worth over a million dollars.
Pledges of revenge
As news of bin Laden's death spread, crowds gathered to celebrate outside the White House in Washington, DC, as well as in New York City - one of the sites of the September 11 attacks.
But celebrations over the operation were tempered by fears of retaliation, and the US quickly issued security warnings to Americans worldwide.
Hours after Obama made the announcement, a top al-Qaeda ideologue promised revenge for bin Laden's death. The commentator, going by the online name Assad al-Jihad2, posted on websites a long eulogy for the al-Qaeda leader and promised to "avenge the killing of the Sheik of Islam".
The Pakistani Taliban also threatened attacks against government leaders, including Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, the Pakistan army and the US.
Elsewhere, the announcement of bin Laden's death was met with varied responses.
Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the UN, called the death a "watershed moment". "This is a day to remember the victims of terrorism here in the United States and everywhere in the world," he said at UN headquarters.
"The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done," he said in a statement.
In Afghanistan, Qais Azimy, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kabul, said Afghan officials described bin Laden's killing as a "symbolic victory", since he was no longer directly connected to the group's field operations.
Mark Kimmit, a US military analyst, said bin Laden's death "was not the end of terrorism, but an end of a chapter."
So what?! Yang tu saja aku kirimkan kepada Amerika dan sekutunya. Sebenarnya berita ini lebih banyak menimbulkan persoalan kepadaku dari memberi jawapan. Mana gambar Osama mati? Jadi apa yang Amerika patut lakukan sekarang? Blahlah dari Afghanistan. Alasan kamu untuk menyerang Afghanistan sudah mati seperti yang didakwa oleh kamu. Atau kamu mahu terus menjadi santapan mujahid-mujahid Afghanistan? Secara seriusnya, aku tidak terkejut langsung dengan kematiannya (seperti yang didakwa oleh mereka).