Monday, 2 May 2011

Osama Bin Laden Dead : Update

Osama Bin Laden

1009: Kiel in Sheffield writes: "Are we going to see a real life video of the body? Why have/would they bury him at sea? Why has he not been shown to the world like Saddam was?" Have Your Say

1007: Jacqui Smith, the former Home Secretary, tweets: "V good news from Pakistan but a potentially perilous time. Thank goodness for the professionalism of our CT police and security services."

1006: Mr Lelpi, himself a former firefighter, added that he was "more than happy" that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, rather than caught and put on trial. "This is the better way to do it, we don't have to listen to him or anybody else preach about how wonderful they think they are."

1004: Lee Lelpi, who lost his son Jonathan, a New York City firefighter, in the 9/11 attacks, says he started crying when he heard that Osama Bin Laden was dead.
He told the BBC World Service's World Today that he cried "tears of joy and tears for those people who were murdered on 9/11 and after 9/11. I was overwhelmed when I heard the news. It will send a beautiful message out to a lot of people."
0954: Don't miss our gallery of Osama Bin Laden's life in pictures.

0951: UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that elements of al-Qaeda were "still in business". He said: "We will still have to be vigilant, even more vigilant, in the coming days about the international terrorist threat. The work in Afghanistan will continue to be phenomenally difficult and must go on. So it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that suddenly we have solved a mass of the world's problems."

0948: Mark in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, writes: "Didn't David Cameron just give £650m to Pakistan as an apology for saying they harbour terrorists. Now every world leader and media centre are saying they harbour terrorists. Wow, the Tories just aren't out of touch with Britain, they're out of touch with the whole world." Have Your Say

0946: Bob in Tampa, Florida, writes: "While I can understand some of the negative comments to the reaction of young Americans outside the White House and New York, please keep in mind that this is a decade long struggle against a truly evil entity - those kids were children at the time of the horrific terror attacks and it is a visceral reaction." Have Your Say

0937: She says "Indian officials have spoken plainly: saying this underlines concerns that terrorists find sanctuary in Pakistan. President Obama was more diplomatic. He emphasised that the counter-terrorism operation with Pakistan had helped - framing Pakistan in public as help, not hindrance. Some Pakistani newspapers went further, quoting security officials as saying this was a joint operation. In fact, it seems much more likely that Pakistan didn't even know the operation was planned. That too hints at the fundamental lack of trust between the US and Pakistan. The suspicions raised now will strengthen the hand of those who've always accused Pakistan of playing a dangerous double game."

0935: The BBC's Jill McGivering examines the questions arising from the discovery of Bin Laden in Abbottabad - "an affluent Pakistani town, near the capital Islamabad, a place closely associated with the military". "Could Pakistan's military and intelligence services really not have known he was there? Or is this evidence that the Pakistani establishment, or parts of it, are still supporting Islamic extremists, as its critics have always claimed?"

0923: Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan proved Kabul's long-standing position that the war on terror was not rooted in Afghanistan: "Again and again, for years and every day we have said that the war on terror is not in Afghan villages, not in Afghan houses of the poor and oppressed," he tells a gathering of tribal elders. "The war against terrorism is in its sources, in its financial sources, its sanctuaries, in its training bases, not in Afghanistan. It was proven that we were right."

0920: Will in Wales, writes: "One of my strongest memories from 9/11 is people celebrating around the world. I remember being disgusted. Now I have just seen Americans celebrating the death of Bin Laden outside the White House, I am again disgusted. I believe this scene may even incite more hatred and terror against in America and Europe." Have Your Say

0917: More of the statement from Pakistan's Foreign Office: "Osama Bin Ladin's death illustrates the resolve of the international community including Pakistan to fight and eliminate terrorism. It constitutes a major setback to terrorist organizations around the world. Al-Qaeda had declared war on Pakistan. Scores of Al-Qaeda sponsored terrorist attacks resulted in deaths of thousands of innocent Pakistani men, women and children." The statement says almost 30,000 Pakistani civilians and more than 5,000 Pakistani security forces have been killed in the last few years. "Pakistan has played a significant role in efforts to eliminate terrorism," the statement says.

0902: Col Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, tells BBC News: "This is not just symbolic - this is a major setback to al-Qaeda. It shows that the US is strong and al-Qaeda is weak. It is the third major high point of the war on terror. The first was the removal of the Taliban from power. The second was the defeat of Saddam Hussein. And now, the death of Osama Bin Laden."

0901: An official in the president's office of Yemen - Osama Bin Laden's ancestral homeland - welcomed his death, hailing it as "the beginning of the end of terror", reports AFP.

0859: Osama Bin Laden's death is a "victory for the forces of peace," but does not mean extremism has been defeated, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said according to AFP news agency.

0857: The BBC's James Copnall in Sudan's capital Khartoum says a foreign ministry spokesman refused to comment on how the Sudanese government viewed Bin Laden. They're in quite a difficult situation, he says, because they're desperate to get off the US list of countries it accuses of supporting terrorism but they also have a domestic constituency which has some support for Bin Laden. There are some people here who remember him fondly from when he used to live in Khartoum in the 1990s.

0852: William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "It is unequivocally a good thing that Osama Bin Laden is no longer able to pursue terror, murder and mayhem in the world."

0851: Zeeshan Malik in Islamabad, writes: "Just viewed international media and what is the most shocking and disappointing thing - not a single word of appreciation for Pakistan and its sacrifices... How disgusting! The most sacrifices and efforts against war on terror are by Pakistan. And without support of Pakistan all this success of USA will be near to impossible. At least give a word of appreciation for hundred thousand martyred of Pakistan who were killed in the war against terrorism." Have Your Say

0850: Although in the short term, the Obama administration will be bracing itself for possible revenge attacks, for many the bigger question will be whether in the longer run al-Qaeda can survive, says Middle East expert Roger Hardy. "Since the start of the year, some experts have argued that the uprisings in the Arab world have rendered it irrelevant. They will see Bin Laden's death as confirming the trend."

0845: Associated Press in Washington is quoting a US official as saying Osama Bin Laden's body has been buried at sea.

0841: And the White House official went on: "We soon learned that more people were living at the compound than the two brothers and their families. A third family lived there - one whose size and makeup matched the Bin Laden family members that we believed most likely to be with Osama Bin Laden. Our best assessment, based on a large body of reporting from multiple sources, was that Bin Laden was living there with several family members, including his youngest wife."

Compound where locals reported a firefight overnight in Abbotabad, 2 May 2011

0840: The official continued: "The main structure, a three-storey building, has few windows facing the outside of the compound. A terrace on the third floor has a 7ft privacy wall. The property is valued at approximately $1m but has no telephone or internet service connected to it."

0835: More now on the intelligence that led the US to Bin Laden. A senior White House official described the compound where the al-Qaeda leader lived: "We were shocked by what we saw - an extraordinarily unique compound. It is roughly eight times larger than the other homes in the area. It has 12-18ft walls topped with barbed wire. Internal walls sectioned-off different portions of the compound to provide extra privacy. Access to the compound is restricted by two security gates, and the residents of the compound burn their trash, unlike their neighbours, who put the trash out for collection."

0833: Tim in London, says he is reminded of the words of Col Tim Collins to his troops: "If you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory": "The ugly, boastful scenes outside the White House cannot in any way be seen as magnaminous and is unpleasently remindful of flag-burning rallies and hate parades more commonly witnessed in those countries we suspect of being orchestras of terror." Have Your Say

0830: Journalists near the town of Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was found, told the BBC Urdu service that they were seeing an extraordinary level of military movement and activity in the area.

0824: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called on the Taliban to end its violence after the killing of the al-Qaeda leader: "The Taliban must learn a lesson from this. The Taliban should refrain from fighting," he said in a televised news conference.

0821: Abbottabad is home to three Pakistan army regiments and thousands of military personnel and is dotted with military buildings, news agency Associated Press says. Bin Laden's discovery there raises pointed questions about how he managed to evade capture and even whether Pakistan's military and intelligence leadership knew of his whereabouts and sheltered him.

0818: Local TV channels in Pakistan say two women, who were brought out from inside the compound, were taken to local hospitals in critical condition. Both were of Arab origin. One is said to have later died in hospital.

0816: BBC Pashto reports: "Just now Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a large gathering at the presidential palace that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, which was cheered with joy. The president added: 'We have always said that the war on terror was not in Afghan villages but outside our borders, and so it has proved once more.'"

0815: Raza S Janjua in Abbottabad, writes: "Abbottabad is normal as a regular day, the roads are fine. My mother is out to get groceries, father's in his office. Only the Bilal Town area is in complete military control - no one is allowed in." Have Your Say

0811: The BBC's Paul Wood in Kabul says officials there believe the violence will go on despite Bin Laden's death: "The Taleban are no longer so closely affiliated with al-Qaeda. In many senses they have split off."

0809: The UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is on a visit to Egypt, has congratulated the US on "ending the reign of terror of Osama Bin Laden himself". "There couldn't be a greater contrast between what we've seen here in Tahrir Square, people aspiring for democratic change, for peaceful change in the Arab world... and the destructive and murderous approach of al-Qaeda," he said.

0806: Zabiullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan told BBC Afghan Programmes: "We are not saying anything about this story; our investigation is continuing and will talk about it later."

0803: Before his announcement, President Obama spoke to former presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton "to review with them the events of today [Sunday] and to preview his statement to the nation tonight", a White House spokesman said. "The pursuit of Osama Bin Laden and the defeat of al-Qaeda has been a bipartisan exercise in this nation since 11 September 2001."

0801: Ahmed Rashid goes on to warn: "The fear now of random suicide bombings in subway or train stations in the US or Europe is particularly high. So are plane hijackings, bombings of Western military targets and US embassies in the Middle East where they are already a frequent target. Or just the amateur jihadi placing a bomb in a supermarket."

0758: The BBC's guest columnist Ahmed Rashid says Bin Laden's death is a huge blow to extremists, but al-Qaeda today is "loose and amorphous", not the highly centralised hierarchy it once was. "Today al-Qaeda's philosophy is one man one bomb. In other words it does not need another 9/11 to make its mark. One bomb in Times Square in New York placed by one dedicated suicide bomber or one bomb in a New York subway - both attacks were attempted last year - are big enough indicators that al-Qaeda is alive and kicking."

0752: US General Jack Keane told the BBC's Today programme that it was "appropriate" that Bin Laden was killed by US forces. "I'm glad we're bringing a body back [to the US] as to opposed to him walking back," he said.

0750: A senior Afghan counterterrorism official has told BBC Afghan Programmes in Kabul: "This [Bin Laden's death] would have been more significant in 2004, 2005 or 2006 - now it is too late. There is a Bin Laden on every street today.''

0744: A spokesman for Human Rights Watch said: "Osama Bin Laden will never again be responsible for mass atrocities such as the September 11 attacks. His death should also bring an end to a horrific chapter of human rights abuses in the name of counterterrorism."

0742: Prominent Pakistani opposition politician Imran Khan has said on Pakistan's Dunya TV that Bin Laden's death ought to mark the end of US military operations in Pakistan, BBC Monitoring reports. "I feel that now that they have killed [him], there remains no justification for this war," he said.

0729: A BBC reporter in Pakistan says the compound where Bin Laden was killed is 800 yards from the premises of the PMA - Pakistan Military Academy - Pakistan's equivalent of British Army officer training centre at Sandhurst.

0726: Haron in Lahore, writes: "I think we all need to ask ourselves if this is the beginning of the end or the end. Osama was not an individual, he was a mindset. I am surprised that the whole world just refuses to recognize that he was just one of the many manifestations of inequality, injustice and insanity that still prevails. We in Pakistan have a far greater insight into the war against terrorism to make jubilations and take the simplistic view that with OBL eliminated, our lives, streets and country is safe." Have Your Say

0724: From BBC Afghan programs in Kabul: Mullah Zaeef, former Taliban ambassador to Islamabad told the BBC, " Osama's killing will not help the ongoing situation for Afghans, I don't think it will do much in the Afghan case, Afghan( peace) need more efforts."

0717: Celebrity news website TMZ points out that ironically, Osama Bin Laden's death came on the eighth anniversary of George W Bush's notorious "mission accomplished" speech in Iraq.

0714: Syed Riaz Hussain in Abbottabad, writes: "Last night, at around 0100, there was heavy gunfire about 300 metres from our house, which was followed by a huge blast. There was little in terms of military activity during the day to suggest something even remotely close to what happened. The exact spot where this incident took place, is a stone's throw from the Pakistan Military Academy, Pakistan's equivalent of West Point." Have Your Say

0712: Reuters have reported some reaction from Jihadist internet forums. "Oh God, please make this news not true... God curse you\rObama," said one message on an Arabic language forum. "Osama may be killed but his message of Jihad will never die," said another posting.

0710: Usman Mansur in Islamabad, writes: "How was he living in that compound in the city close to the military base? Pakistani intelligence must have known about it yet they denied it all along." Have Your Say

0708: Mahmoud Salem in Egypt tweets: "Dear US, u still have that "Mission accomplished" banner? I think it's time to get it out of storage now!"
0706: Official sources in Pakistan tell the BBC Urdu Service that apart from Osama Bin Laden five of his guards were killed in the operation. They have detained four suspects too.

0705: According to locals speaking on Pakistani television from the area where Bin Laden is said to have been killed, Pakistani troops arrived after the operation and they have now completely taken control of the area. There is a search operation going on and no one is allowed in the immediate vicinity.

0702: While Bin Laden's death is "good for the United States reputation, power and influence", his killing "does not end Al Qaeda", cautions Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times. He says Bin Laden's death "might have mattered more in 2002 or 2003", when "many ordinary people had a very high regard for Bin Laden and doubted that he was centrally involved in the 9/11 attacks".

0659: And this from an senior Afghan national security official, via the BBC Kabul bureau: ''We always said he was in Pakistan. The fact that this happened 60 miles outside of Islamabad, where military bases are, is what we have always said.''
0656: From the BBC Kabul bureau: A senior Afghan counter-terrorism official told us: ''This would have been more significant in 2004, 5 or 6, now it is too late. There is a Bin Laden on every street today.''

0655: Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga has told the BBC World Service that he welcomes news of the death of Osama Bin Laden - who was linked to a bomb attack on the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998. "It's a major achievement in the war against terrorism", Mr Odinga said.

0648: French government reaction: "A victory for all democracies against terrorism".

0646: India's Home Minister P Chidambaram says Bin Laden's killing near Islamabad highlights concerns that Pakistan provides "sanctuary" to terrorists - AFP.

0644: Pakistan's Dunya News is reporting that Pakistani troops are searching the site of Bin Laden's death. Troops are also involved in recovering the remains of a Pakistan helicopter that reportedly crashed during the operation, the TV station says.

0640: From Gen Petraeus' office in Kabul: "We have received guidance that the White House has the lead so we have no comment". ISAF (international force in Afghanistan) is directing all inquiries to the White House.

0638: CBS News tweets: "Aljazeera correspondent in Kabul says #Osama Bin Laden's body taken to Bagram base. Journalists could be called in to inspect it ."
0634: This from US network CBS: President Obama made decision to undertake raid operation at 8:20am on Friday (29 April) before leaving for Alabama.

0632: Indrajit in Kolkata, India, writes: "People like bin Laden are not born, they are made. By poverty, inequality, discrimination. As long as these are prevalent in the world, I fear killing one Bin Laden won't really solve anything." Have Your Say
0631: Muhammad Adnan Rabbani, in Lahore, writes: "Salute to the Pakistan Army who made it possible, otherwise the US and allies may have killed many more in this ghost hunt." Have Your Say

0626: The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Karachi says that US Marines were operating out of a base relatively close to Abbottabad, the city outside which Osama Bin Laden was killed. The base in Tarbela Ghazi is certainly close enough to run the operation from, our correspondent says.

0622: The executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikkow, told the BBC how he had witnessed a spontaneous gathering of people at Ground Zero in New York: "We take a great deal of satisfaction in the news that Bin Laden has been brought to justice. Hundreds of people are gathering spontaneously in the night, just coming from all over the neighbourhood to share the moment of relief that the original architect of that giant mass murder has actually been tracked down in the heart of Pakistan."

0619: More from the BBC's Haroon Rashid in Islamabad: "For those who keep a close on eye on these matters it wasn't a total shock that he was ultimately hunted down in an urban area. In the past we have had reports of him being treated in hospitals in Rawalpindi for kidney problems. There was even one report that he was treated in the southern city of Karachi. All of these were officially denied. Some of the big al-Qaeda and Taliban names in the past have been captured in big Pakistani cities. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan and Afghan Taliban military commander Mullah Baradar was reportedly captured in Karachi."

0617: And according to Pakistan's Express TV, American forces arrived first at the big residence on the outskirts of Abbottabad where the operation took place, and Pakistani forces came later.

0614: Pakistani TV says the government there is mulling a response to Bin Laden's death.

0612: US officials say the compound in which Bin Laden was killed appeared to have been custom-built to harbour a major fugitive.

0610: A BBC reporter in Pakistan says the Afghan Taliban have confirmed the death of Osama Bin Laden.

0608: This from the Associated Press: "Based on statements given by US detainees, intelligence officials have known for years that Bin Laden trusted one al-Qaida courier in particular and they believed he might be living with him in hiding. In November, intelligence officials found out where he was living, a huge fortified compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad. It was surrounded by walls as high as 18 feet high, topped with barbed wire. There were two security gates and no phone or internet running into the house."

0604: Richard in Ontario, Canada writes: "A great day for all. Justice finally delivered for those who have lost loves ones over the years at the orders of Osama Bin Laden. Our thoughts and prayers still with those." Have Your Say
0603: A member of the Taliban Haqqani group - a network of insurgents broadly loyal to the Afghan Taliban - has told a BBC correspondent that he met Osama bin Laden three months ago in Abbottabad.

0601: Here's the statement from the British government: "The news that Osama Bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world. 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, many of them British. It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror. This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama Bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones. It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism. Their work will continue. I congratulate President Obama and those responsible for carrying out this operation."

0558: More on the three other people killed along with Bin Laden; officials are saying that one of them was a son of the al-Qaeda leader.

0556: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Bin Laden's death is a "resounding triumph for democratic nations fighting terrorism" - Reuters.

0554: Arif Siddiqui in Dhaka, Bangladesh writes: "A victory of peace over terror." Have Your Say

0553: Carolyn Shawgo in Washington, US writes: "First tears and then a wave of relief. Such a sad event to celebrate. I feel as if President Obama handled this with dignity and calm clarity with no sort of boasting." Have Your Say

0543: Here's a link to a full transcript of President Obama's statement.

0548: Neokin in Bangalore, India writes: "It is a significant achievement for the people of the US and people all over the world who want peace and justice. Great operation led by US intelligence and troops who have dedicated their lives particularly to this operation." Have Your Say

0546: CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller tweets: "Official says US believes compound in Abottabad built about 5 years ago specifically for the purpose of harboring bin-Laden."

0544: The BBC's Haroon Rashid in Islamabad said that last night there were rumours that an operation was going on in an area close to Abbottabad. There were unconfirmed reports of a military helicopter crashing in the area as well. Witnesses said the whole area was cordoned off and nobody was allowed close although they did hear gunshots and firearms. But nobody had any inkling that this was an operation to get Osama bin Laden.

0542: Tim Sumner, from the group called 9/11 Families for a Safe&Strong America, lost a friend, and his brother-in-law in the 9/11 attacks. He gave his reaction to the BBC: "I'm very happy to see that our nation has scored this victory. I say it's a victory for America and for all those engaged in this war -- and it is a war. On a personal level, I woke my wife up just not long ago to tell her and this has been long coming... I would say we are exhilarated, that would be a good word to use. It is a just ending to a mass murderer."

0539: Four people including Bin Laden were killed in the operation - AFP.

0538: US official says Bin Laden's body is being handled according to Islamic practice and tradition, Reuters reports.

0537: UK Prime Minister David Cameron says Bin Laden's death "will bring great relief" around the world - Reuters.

0536: US state department warns Americans of "enhanced potential for anti-American violence" following Bin Laden's death.

0534: AP citing Pakistani official: Four helicopters launched the attack in the Bilal area of Abbottabad, about 100km north of Islamabad; women and children were taken into custody during the raid, according to the report.

0531: Justin King in New York, US writes: "Good news, bad reaction. While I am very pleased to hear that Bin Laden is no longer living and I understand that many may feel that this symbolises a sort of closure to 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, I can't help but feel a little disgusted by the cheering mob jumping around outside the White House. As the world celebrates this occasion let's not forget that even killing a killer is an ugly business and we could be recognising Bin Laden's demise in a more dignified way." Have Your Say

0530: CNN anchor Rosemary Church tweets: "Ed Henry reporting thousands out the front of the WH, celebrating the news that the world is taking in: #OsamabinLaden is dead!#CNN"

0524: Former US President George W Bush has called the death of Bin Laden a "momentous achievement". He said in a statement: "The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."

0522: The American president stressed that the US is not at war with Islam - Bin Laden's demise should be welcomed by all who value peace and dignity, he said.

0519: Obama's verdict towards the end of his statement: "Justice has been done." He said Bin Laden's death marks most significant achievement in struggle against al-Qaeda - and paid tribute to intelligence officials - but he also said there's still more to be done.

0516: President Obama said there was a firefight, after which US forces took possession of Bin Laden's body.

0514: President Obama said Bin Laden was killed after the US launched a targeted operation at a compound in Pakistan.

0500: We're starting up live coverage shortly after US President Barack Obama announced that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has been killed in a US-led operation. Stay with us for the latest updates - reports from our correspondents on the ground, expert analysis, and your reaction from around the world. You can contact us via e-mail, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.