05 May 2011
Osama Bin Laden, 54, the leader of the al-Qaeda terror network, has been killed in a raid by a US élite unit in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad. The world’s most wanted man had been living in a secure compound (pictured below) in the city, which is about 100 kilometers north of Pakistan's capital Islamabad. His villa was only a short distance away from an academy where officers of Pakistan’s military are being educated. Bin Laden’s body was swiftly buried at sea, according to Islamic customs. The US administration wanted to prevent the creation of a shrine to him, a senior US official said.
World Jewish Congress congratulates Obama
The World Jewish Congress offered its congratulations to President Barack Obama and the US military. In a letter to Obama, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder wrote: “On behalf of our member organizations in ninety countries around the world I would like to congratulate you on the successful mission of your administration to locate and destroy Osama Bin Laden in retribution for his murderous campaign of many years. It has brought closure to thousands of families who grieve to this day at the loss of their loved ones by his hand.
"We salute you for your courage and your firm leadership in seeking justice on their behalf. You can also be proud of those brave troops under your command who were engaged in a mission that was executed in the best American military tradition. Your action serves as a clear message that the United States will not cease to pursue those who choose violence to undermine the fundamental principles of our free and democratic society," the WJC president declared.
Al-Qaeda's bloody trail
Al-Qaeda terrorists were held responsible for a series of attacks on US targets, including the killing in 1996 of 19 American soldiers in Saudi Arabia, the bombings in 1998 of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania which killed more than 250 people and injured more than 5,500; and the bombing in 2000 of the US Navy destroyer ‘Cole’ during a brief refueling stop in Aden, which killed 17 US servicemen. Al-Qaeda became notorious world-wide following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, when 19 terrorists hijacked four passenger planes and flew them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The fourth plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of it. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks on 11 September 2001.
Announcing the successful operation against the al-Qaeda leader, US President Barack Obama said in a televised address to the nation: “I can confirm to the world that the United States conducted a mission that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden... Last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to Bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.” He added: “Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. 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.”
Former US President George W. Bush congratulated Obama and the military and intelligence personnel who “devoted their lives to this mission.” He said: “They have our everlasting gratitude. 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.”
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