The President has spoken and announced the death of Usama Bin Laden. It is now confirmed Usama Bin Laden is DEAD. He was killed by a US operation deep inside Pakistan, near Islamabad on Sunday. (video of the assault on compound click here)
UPDATE 4 – ISLAMABAD, May 2, 2011 (AFP) -Pakistani television stations on Monday broadcast what they described as unconfirmed images of Osama bin Laden’s bloodied face after the United States said he had been killed. “The picture of Osama bin Laden’s dead body has been released. It is unverified,” said the commentator on Pakistan’s largest TV network, Geo. Other channels also showed the image of a face, which sported a bushy and black beard without any visible traces of the white or grey detected in the most recent video footage of bin Laden when he was alive. There were extensive blood stains on the forehead and left temple. The right eye was shut but the whites of the left eye were visible. The hair was mangled and the mouth was slightly open with teeth showing.
Television also broadcast footage of flames rising from a compound in Abbottabad overnight and footage after daybreak of armed Pakistani forces standing guard at the
building where bin Laden was reportedly killed. The compound is in Bilal, in the suburbs of Abbottabad, which is about 50 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. One local resident told AFP that he heard helicopters circling overhead before heavy gunfire erupted between midnight Sunday (1900 GMT) and 1:00 am on Monday. “People were sleeping. I heard helicopters roaring in the sky,” the man told AFP on
condition of anonymity because he was worried about security.
“I woke up and then heavy firing started. It was severe. It continued for quite some time, when I heard a heavy explosion. It was huge. People woke up and came out of their houses. We didn’t know what is going on.” “We heard ambulance sirens and security people shouting. We saw flames coming out of one place. Everybody is scared. I am afraid.”
“Today I heard from the TV about Osama’s death. I haven’t sent my children to school.
Police and other security people have cordoned off the whole area and we are not
allowed to go out,” the local resident added.
Update #1 Last week, the Taliban managed to reach an area located approximately 100 kilometers from the capital Islamabad before being repelled. Zardari ruled out the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the Taliban but the conversation got real serious over there. “The nuclear capability of Pakistan is in safe hands,” he said. The Pakistani government said the Taliban had completely withdrawn from the district, but reports quoting local eyewitnesses said Taliban fighters were still present on the ground. This geographic proximity represented a more significant threat to Pakistan than previously existed. I believe it was during that al Queda / Taliban push toward Islamabad the Pakistani’s finally said “ENOUGH”, and decided to give up the location of the bastard to the United States.
Essentially Usama Bin Laden was the cause of his own demise. His Taliban’s success in almost reaching Islamabad was ultimately his undoing. At some level, high governmental and military officials in Pakistan had to posess information about his whereabouts. It was the Taliban getting this close to Islamabad that made them rethink their illicit ”turn the cheek” position and divulge where he was hiding. Once covert operations could figure out exactly where he was, and intelligence confirmed, they moved on Sunday to attack the home and compound where he was hiding. President Obama stated a gunfight took place which ultimately led to UBL being shot dead. The Covert Ops team recovered his body and took it with them when they bugged out. (More information will follow)
UPDATE #2 - US president Barack Obama said bin Laden, the most-wanted fugitive on the US list, has been killed on Sunday in a US operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, about 150km north of Islamabad. “Tonight, I can report to the people of the United States and the world, the United States had carried an operation that has killed Osama Bin Laden, a terrorist responsible for killing thousands of innocent people,” Obama said in a statement.
“Today, at my direction, the United States carried out that operation… they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body. “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date against al-Qaeda. “We must also reaffirm that 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,” Obama said.
Barack Obama called bin Laden’s death the ‘most significant achievement’ against al-Qaeda [EPA] As the news of bin Laden’s death spread, crowds gathered outside the White House in Washington DC to celebrate. Former US president George Bush called his death a “momentous achievement”.
“The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” Bush said in a statement
According to Al Jazeeera’s Rosalind 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 the US authorities got intelligence last September and were able to track bin Laden down through his couriers. They followed them to his compound which is reported to be worth over a million dollars.
Reporting from Pakistan, Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder said the development had caught a lot of people by surprise . “He was considered by many as a hero, but not to the extent that people would come out on the streets. The reaction so far not likely to be strong on the streets, perhaps a protest here or there by the religious parties,” he said.
‘Symbolic victory’ – 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. “This organisation (Al Qaeda) is more than Bin Laden, it may be symbolised by Bin Laden, but it definitely is more than Bin Laden”.
Mark Kimmit, a US military analyst, said bin Laden’s death “was not the end of terrorism, but an end of a chapter.” “Capturing or killing bin Laden has more iconic value. It will have symbolic value, because it has been a number of years since bin Laden has exercised day to day control over operations. We still have an al-Qaeda threat out there and that will be there for a number of years.
“This organisation (al-Qaeda) is more than bin Laden, it may be symbolised by bin Laden, but it definitely is more than bin Laden,” he said. It is, however, a major accomplishment for Obama and his national security team. Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, had repeatedly vowed to bring to justice the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, but never did before leaving office in early 2009.
He had been the subject of a search since he eluded US soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains in 2001. The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan. While in hiding, bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway. Besides September 11, Washington has also linked bin Laden to a string of attacks – including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.
Having the body may help convince any doubters that bin Laden is really dead.
Pakistani Television stations today carried images of Osama bin Laden’s bloodied face after the US announced that the world’s most wanted terrorist had been killed. “The picture of bin Laden’s body has been released. It is unverified,” Pakistan’s largest TV network Geo TV announced. Other channels also showed the images of the face of the world’s most wanted man, sporting a bushy and black beard without much traces of white or grey detected in his most recent video footage released to the media. The picture showed extensive blood stain on his forehead and left temple. The right eye appeared shut, but the whites of the eyes were visible. The hair appeared mangled and mouth was shown slightly open with teeth showing.