Thursday, May 5, 2011

Icon of terror gone, but war remains

IN a daring and clinically lethal operation, they cut Osama bin Laden down right where he lived.The raid marks the passing of a long, bloody decade of war since 9/11.It comes as the great price of treasure and blood - around 6000 US combat deaths and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths - continues to be paid.Neither the Pakistani Government nor its intelligence agencies - long known for their ongoing lines of communication with Islamic militant groups - knew American boots were setting foot on their soil.That alone is, at least publicly, a first since the wars began.Storming in to the multi-layered luxury compound where Osama was hiding, the SEALs gave him the chance to surrender. When he refused, they blew him away with shots to the head. And at last, the al-Qaida inspiration for the 9/11 attacks lay dead in a pool of his own blood.President Obama and his agency chiefs could not have scripted it better if they'd tried.But, then again, neither could have al-Qaida.
For hardline Islamic militants continuing the holy war, or jihad, bin Laden inflamed, he will forever now be revered as a martyr.It is a dark reality that his death will inevitably be a rallying point.And in death he may be as valuable a symbol to al-Qaida as he was in life.In Iraq in 2004 I was taken to one of their training camps.Too many times I have seen into their eyes, witnessed their work, been taken inside their disciplined and brutishly effective organisation.Bin Laden's slaying is without a doubt a heavy symbolic body blow to the al-Qaida organisation.But when it comes to its ability to continue waging its campaign of attacks and terror, that's all it promises to be: symbolic.The shockwaves reverberating from bin Laden's death - those of unfettered jubilation in the US and those elsewhere in the world - go far beyond questions over the next generation of al-Qaida leadership.

Al-Qaida in Yemen vows revenge


A LEADER of al-Qaida's branch in Yemen has vowed revenge for the US killing of the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden."We will take revenge for the death of our Sheikh Osama bin Laden and we will prove this to the enemies of God," he told AFP, contacted by telephone from Yemen's southern province of Abyan, an al-Qaida stronghold."They will see what they haven't expected ... We are preparing a plan to continue jihad in the coming period," said the al-Qaida leader, requesting anonymity for "security reasons.""The martyrdom of Sheikh Osama does not mean that jihad (holy war) will end."
The official said that bin Laden had "prepared a thousand lions like himself and we will follow his path until we achieve God's promise to us - an Islamic Caliphate."The US announced on Monday that US commandos had shot dead bin Laden in a raid on his sprawling villa near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.Residents in Yemen's Abyan towns of Mudia, Mahfad and Loder - all of which are controlled by al-Qaida - said the jihadist network's supporters, mourning bin Laden, put up black banners at their homes and along roads.Saudi and Yemeni al-Qaida branches merged in January 2009 to form the Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), posing a serious threat to US interests as well as Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh.While bin Laden's ancestral homeland of Yemen has hailed his death, his followers in the impoverished country called it a "catastrophe" and vowed to keep up jihad.In March, at least 150 people were killed in a massive blast and fire at an ammunition plant looted the previous day by AQAP in Abyan, after parts of the region slipped from the capital Sanaa's control.Washington has expressed fears that al-Qaida could take advantage of a prolonged political crisis in Yemen, where close US ally Saleh has faced three months of mass protests calling for his ouster.

Osama bin Laden: A timeline of terror



OSAMA bin Laden's life from a wealthy and well-educated young Saudi to the world's most wanted terrorist followed a path of destruction.

- 1957: Osama Bin Laden is born to a Syrian mother in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and is reportedly the seventeenth son among 52 brothers and sisters. His father Mohammed Awad bin Laden owns the biggest construction company in the kingdom of South Yemen. He is raised as a devout Wahabbi muslim.
- 1967: Osama Bin Laden's father dies in a Saudi Arabia plane crash when American pilot misjudges the landing.
- 1974: Bin Laden marries, aged 17 for the first time, to a Syrian girl Najwa Ghanem, also Bin Laden’s first cousin. Fathered up to 26 children.
- 1981: Obtains a degree in public administration from King Abdul-Aziz University, Jeddah.
- 1981: Visits mujahdin refugees and fighters in Pakistan who fled the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He begins collecting money and supplies for them.
- 1982: Visits Afghanistan with construction machinery, which he uses to help the mujahadin.
- 1984: Establishes a Peshawar guesthouse in the tribal area of Pakistan, which became the first stop for Arab mujahadin before training or to head to the Afghan front. Also,
helps establish Maktab al-Khadamat, which funnels money, weapons and Muslim fighters into the war.
- 1986: Bin Laden builds command and training camps in Afghanistan and begins leading battles himself.
- 1988: His command complex is dubbed "The Base" or Al-Qa’ida. Eldest half-brother Salem bin Laden dies in a Texas plane crash.
- 1989: Goes to South Yemen, but is banned from travel after warning of an imminent invasion by Saddam Hussein, embarrassing the Yemeni leadership.
- 1990: Offers to bring Arab Mujahadeen to protect South Yemen from attack, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
- 1991: Bin Laden prepared to mobilise his forces, but is disappointed to learn that the US was sending forces to Kuwait. Has his travel restrictions lifted and leaves South Yemen for Pakistan and then Afghanistan, before flying into Sudan in his private jet late that year. Bin Laden is expelled from Saudi Arabi and his citizenship is revoke, and family members disown him.
- 1992: Continues to speak out against Saudi government for harboring American troops, for which the Saudis banished him. Lives in exile in Sudan.On December 29, the first bombing attack alleged to involve bin Laden occurs at a hotel in Yemen. Two people die.
- 1993: Bin Laden linked to the February World Trade Center bombing involving a truck bomb under the north tower.
- 1996: Under increasing diplomatic pressure, Sudan expels bin Laden. Bin Laden flees to eastern Afghanistan with three wives and 10 children. Issues his first anti-American message stating his desire to expel US forces from Arab countries. The Taliban takes control of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, where Bin Laden lives. Taliban leader Mullah Omar offers him protection.
- 1997: Bin Laden conducts TV interviews, including one with CNN in which he declares a holy war against the US. US plans an operation using special forces to kidnap bin Laden from his home in Kandahar. Bin Laden Persuades religious scholars in Afghanistan to sign a fatwah sanctioning "all means” to expel US forces from the Arab peninsula.
- 1998: Forms the International Islamic Front, a loose coalition of extremists from Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh, calling on a "fatwah" which sanctions the killing of Jews and Americans. The US Navy launches a missile attack on bin Laden’s training camps at Khost in Afghanistan, missing him by a few hours. In April he speaks to the US ABC, and a fortnight later warns of an impending attack. In July the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania are bombed within minutes of each other, leaving 224 people dead. Is listed among the FBI’s ten most wanted terrorists.
- 2000: Linked to an October terrorist attack on the warship USS Cole. Operatives working for the CIA attack a bin Laden convoy with a rocket propelled grenade. It is revealed Islamic militants headed by bin Laden planned attacks that would have included bombings in Jordan of the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman as well as the sinking of destroyer USS The Sullivans in Yemen and attacks within the US.
- 11 September 2001: Almost 3000 are killed when the World Trade Center’s twin towers are destroyed by hijacked commercial airlines deliberately crashed into the upper floors. The buildings collapsed and New York’s Manhattan Island is evacuated. Another airliner crashes into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. causing major damage. A third plane crashes in rural Pennsylvania when passengers rise up against the terrorists. The US launches a War on Terror to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and capture al-Qaida operatives.
US government officials name bin Laden and al-Qaida as the prime suspects and offer a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or death.Later that year it is wrongly reported bin Laden has died of lung complications.
- 2002: Maintains a low profile but makes headlines when Al-Jazeera broadcasts two audio tapes.
- 2003: Al-Jazeera broadcasts another bin Laden tape urging Muslims and Islamic nations to fight against any US-led attack on Iraq.
- 2003: Two sons are believed captured after a raid in southwestern Afghanistan.
- 2004: bin Laden formally claims responsibility for the World Trade Center attack. Al-Jazeera broadcasts a tape by bin Laden in which he claims the US operation in Iraq is part of a plan to control Arab oil reserves. The US House of Representatives votes unanimously to double the reward for bin Laden 's capture to $50 million.
- 2005: Speculation is raised about whether Bin Laden is alive or dead
- 2006: More recordings of bin Laden appear, showing preparations for the September 11 attacks.
- 2007: US and Afghan forces raid mountain caves after news of an Al-Qa’ida meeting there, but bin Laden is not found.
- 2009: Terror Rohan Gunaratna says captured Al-Qa’ida leaders confirmed Bin Laden had been hiding in the picturesque and mountainous Chitral
- 2010: Separate reports out of Israeli intelligence sources suggest Bin Laden had been hiding in Savzevar in Iran’s north east. The FBI publishes "aged progressed'' mug shots of bin Laden as their hunt continues. The release come despite continued speculation he is already dead.
- 2011: US forces kill Osama bin Laden in a military strike on a compound in Abbottabad, about 150km north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad

Al Qaeda without its leader


Even as Westerners celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden, cities around the world are bracing for repercussions. Hundreds of dedicated jihadi wannabes will be in mourning today and swearing to give their lives in revenge for the killing of Bin Laden by U.S. forces in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. Bin Laden's death is a huge blow to the terrorist network, but at the same time, Al Qaeda has moved over the years from a highly centralized hierarchy with recruiting, training and orders all filtering down from top leaders to a much more loose and amorphous organization.Today the group'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 on a New York subway — both things that were attempted last year — are now considered big enough statements.Al Qaeda's decentralization has ensured it will remain a viable franchise for some time. Anyone can join by planting a bomb somewhere. And almost anyone who travels to Pakistan or Afghanistan can receive training from Al Qaeda allies, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani Taliban or the Afghan group headed by Jalaluddin Haqqani.Pakistan has refused to go up against Al Qaeda allies like Haqqani because they have up to now waged their attacks in Afghanistan, not Pakistan. Allies like Lashkar-e-Taiba are tacitly tolerated because their main targets are Kashmir and India.
Before 9/11 there were no known Al Qaeda cells in Europe except for the Hamburg cell that launched the 2001 attacks. Today every European country has an Al Qaeda cell, and hundreds of Muslims with European passports have traveled to Pakistan's tribal areas for training and then returned to Europe.
After the arrest of three Moroccans in Germany recently for planning to plant bombs in train stations, German authorities acknowledged that more than 200 German citizens have received training in the tribal areas, and many of them have returned to Germany. The same is the case in Britain, Scandinavia, France, Spain and Italy.The threat of random suicide bombings in the U.S. and Europe is particularly high. So is the threat of plane hijackings and bombings of Western military targets and U.S. embassies in the Middle East.Attacks are likely. One type will be that carried out by dedicated long-term jihadists already living in Western societies as "sleepers." They may now be expected to spring into action with carefully honed plots they have been working on for years. The U.S. has previously derailed such attacks at the last moment.There is also likely to be an uptick in terrorism in Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda's influence among dedicated jihadists like those in the Haqqani group is still strong. Al Qaeda and its affiliated Pakistani groups will also be determined to launch a bombing campaign in Pakistan in memory of Bin Laden, which will heighten tensions in a country already beset with power shortages and an economic crisis.
Finally, Al Qaeda and its allies may find this the right moment to create major divisions between India and Pakistan by launching another Mumbai-style attack on Indian territory, which would aim to take the heat off of Al Qaeda members in Pakistan.The Middle East, with the ongoing Arab revolts, remains a vacuum that Al Qaeda will try to fill despite the setback of Bin Laden's death. The group will undoubtedly try to gain influence and clout among the new generation of leaders who have emerged in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and the Persian Gulf states — except that task will be much more difficult.Al Qaeda faces difficult days ahead, and clearly Bin Laden's death will give intelligence agencies around the world many clues and leads to catch other leaders. But Al Qaeda will not disappear overnight.

reality show live from Pakistan on SEALcam


Google the topics last week and there were stories as far as the eye could see. Google them now and all you'll get is the wind whistling through the deserted streets of the Internet.Nothing like the killing of the world's most-wanted terrorist to take care of the news' silly season. One Facebook posting appearing to be from the BBC trumpeted a link titled "Osama bin Laden Killed (LIVE VIDEO)." When clicked, the link takes the user to an outside page modeled to look like Facebook, where it asks the user to enter a verification code. When the user submits the code, the link is then posted to the user's Facebook account.Actually, to those of us uncomfortable with social networking, it's somehow reassuring to find that even among the Facebook generation, there's still one born every minute.
The families of 9/11 victims as well as various other factions have criticized the decision to bury Osama bin Laden's body at sea, and quickly. Some people want the satisfaction of having his body in custody; others want more proof that the corpse was that of the terrorist leader. Meanwhile, the two major reasons given by the Obama administration for the quick ocean burial ring a little hollow: that no other country would take his body, and that they wanted to follow the protocol required by Muslim law to bury within 24 hours. Not that these aren't true, but they don't sound like the real reasons.There are numerous situations in which a person's religious beliefs do not or cannot hold sway in these matters. If an autopsy is needed on a murder vicim, for example, burial will likely have to be delayed, even though both Islam and Judaism call for speedy burial. For that matter, strict Jewish practice calls for avoiding autopsy altogether, but criminal law takes priority over religious law.It's easier to believe a reason that's been given as an afterthought -- that a grave could become a shrine. But there's obviously more to this well-thought-out plan than that.Think of the trouble that would be caused by having custody of Bin Laden's body. There would be endless debates about how it should be treated, who should have access to it and how it would be guarded after interment. It would be harder to gain consensus for a sea burial if the body were in U.S. possession, and harder to make that burial a secret, location unknown.
In other words, there might have been a bit of public complaining after the fact, but there's no real public furor. It's easier to gain forgiveness than permission. That decision was as tactically smart as the attack on the Pakistani compound.
Back in 2005, when rookie Sen. Barack Obama was just beginning to plan his $745-million 2007-08 presidential campaign, U.S. intelligence became aware of a $1-million housing compound under construction in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a city of 1 million about 60 miles outside the capital.Using certain interrogation techniques on involuntary wartime guests, the CIA acquired the name of a high-level al Qaeda courier, who was eventually tracked toing and froing from said elaborate compound, which his invisible income would seem to put beyond his financial reach.Last August, as Obama vainly campaigned to preserve his Democratic Party's....
...House majority, he was apprised of the growing surmisal that the compound's 18-foot walls were not to keep the courier's dogs from digging up neighbors' gardens. And indeed Osama and one of his younger wives might well also be a compound resident. The CIA developed a plan to obliterate the compound with a salutory March flyover by a pair of B2s from Diego Garcia safely delivering smart bombs from high above.The good news is such attacks reduce everything to dust and goo. The bad news is such attacks reduce everything to dust and goo.Without a body, how could President Obama prove that he was The One who brought Osama sudden justice without the burden of time-consuming civil trials involving Eric Holder's former law partners as high-paid public defenders? So, although it meant only nine holes of weekend golf instead of 18, Obama OKd a May commando raid, as long as he could still attend the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner to mock that jerk Donald Trump. So on Sunday Washington time, Obama and aides entered the basement Situation Room to watch the Osama execution reality show live from Pakistan on SEALcam.
A dramatic presidential address was scheduled for late that evening. And because the president wanted to get all of his detailed ducks in a row, his major announcement actually came an hour late.Over the years Pakistan officials have been so helpful and trusted about the hunt for Osama that not one of them knew in advance of the U.S. raid on the compound, which is close to a military academy. The U.S. assault team flew from Afghanistan into Pakistan using holes in that country's radar system.Still, a "significant firefight" erupted that was so significant not one American was injured. One helicopter crashed, no, made a hard landing; it was a mechanical failure.One compound resident pointed out Osama. Three compound residents died in the firefight. One man used a woman as a human shield. She was an Osama wife. They both died. She was only shot in the leg running toward a SEAL. She didn't die. Another woman did on another floor. There was no human shield. The Osama son initially identified as shot and killed may have been the other one.The goal was to capture Osama or kill him if necessary. The plan was to kill Osama all along. He was encountered in a bedroom. He was given a brief opportunity to surrender. He didn't. Blam! He died instantly from gunshots to the chest and head, including a large one in the forehead over the eye. He was unarmed. But he resisted. You don't need a gun to resist.Osama's body was removed. The disabled chopper was detonated. Large fire ensued, attracting the attention of Pakistani authorities. Osama's DNA was collected by intelligence officials. They may or may not have actual Osama DNA from before to compare.If not, they can at least prove whether the dead compound body was related to Osama's 53 siblings produced by his father's 22 wives. Because it was so important to have photos of a dead Osama to head off evergreen Elvis-lives conspiracies, the gruesome big-hole-in-the-forehead photo has not been released -- and might never be.

Want to play cricket with Jehad Central?

We have all felt it, the authentic goose-bumps on the skin the tearing up when our Indianness tugs at our heart-strings. Question is does the government even acknowledge the countless Indians who have been a victim of Pakistan sponsored terrorism over the decades.
For me the biggest takeaway from President Obama's speech was his covenant with his fellow Americans that they did not die in vain. When he spoke of gaping holes left in families over dinner tables, arms aching to hug someone it was the sensitivity to the victim families of 9/11.
Do you remember any politician of any hue or party acknowledging the sheer human suffering in those affected by terror strikes across our country?
To all politicians we the people are a statistic, a number that is their hostage in the great geopolitical game, in the Mohali spirit in the desire for a Noble peace prize.
For all these things they are prepared overlook the breath-taking hypocrisy of Pakistan, its duplicity and its infinite desire to harm India. Our Prime Minister wants us to play cricket with Jehad Central. Great for the coffers of the BCCI, but what about the dishonor to the victims’ families and the countless martyrs over the decades that Pakistan has been waging war against India.

What kind of democracy is this that the citizen cannot even expect a right to life from the state?

America has funded Pakistan to the tune of over 50 billion dollars, but trusts us not to point out the hypocrisy inherent in the Pakistan line to the USA. Yes, of course, al Qaeda is the enemy, but you see Laskhar-e-Toiba and Jaish are just kindergarten kids practicing a kinder, gentler Jehad against India.

They are all the same. And now, even the USA is facing the blow-back of Pakistan double-speak.And, just one prediction the Army generals who so kindly protected Osama and are now extending the same courtesy to many other Taliban remember for the Jehadis - a nuclear armed nation is a greater prize than a war ravaged primitive Afghanistan?
And, the nuclear blackmail that Pakistan has always used against India now threatens the world.Vote bank politics when it involves terrorists is a dangerous game. And, all the candles burnt in Wagah and the so called spirit of Mohali will transform Pakistan.It is too far gone. It is Jehad Central on steroids. And, toxic off-shoots such as Kasab, Dawood Ibrahim and countless others, who have metasized into a terrorist cancer. We need to be afraid. Very afraid. And, ensure that we start respecting our own citizens’ right to life and liberty.That will only happen when Pakistan is declared a terrorist nation. And no, Dr Manmohan Singh it is not the same country that you remember with such nostalgic longing.

Osama’s death – India’s vindication

Almost a decade after America suffered its deadliest terrorist attack sponsored by al Qaeda, which claimed the lives of thousands of its citizens and forced the world’s most powerful nation to take unprecedented steps in mainland security, the US has finally taken revenge by eliminating Osama bin Laden.Laden’s killing brings to fruit years of relentless counter-terrorism operations launched by the US and its allies aimed at bringing to justice the man, who is reviled in the West as the personification of evil and a mass murderer of innocent civilians.

The killing of al Qaeda founder is undoubtedly “a momentous occasion”, for the Americans, who were often criticised for waging a war against Muslims in the name of eliminating terrorism, and more importantly for the whole world, as terrorism today threatens global peace.The development holds good for the US President, Barack Obama, who despite promising to change the lives of Americans during his election campaign, had been struggling to bring the recession-hit national economy back on track and rebuilding ties with the Muslim world.Osama, whose Islamist ‘holy war’, made him a household name after the September 11 attacks in the US and gave him a cult status, changed the course of history forcing the US and its allies to rewrite their security doctrines.He is the same man who had issued a fatwa in 1998—a religious edict—on behalf of the World Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, stating that killing Americans and their allies was Muslim duty.

So it’s quite obvious why the Americans and the people world over have erupted in joyous celebration following the death of Osama bin Laden- the man, who they have hated as a mass murder of a thousands of innocent civilians.

The sympathizers of Laden or those who hailed him or revered him as the champion of oppressed Muslims fighting injustice and humiliation, celebrated when the United States was put through its most difficult times after al Qaeda challenged its sovereignty in 2001. However, now ten years later, it is the turn of Americans and all the victims of terrorism to celebrate Laden’s death and feel proud of what the US has accomplished. Though, the US managed to eliminate this dreaded terrorist after a decade-long seek and destroy mission, probably the world’s largest and longest manhunt ever, justice has surely been done to all those who lost their lives, who suffered because of Laden’s unmindful and hatred-filled campaign against world’s oldest democracy.


In all probability, bin Laden’s killing marks the most significant achievement to date in America’s effort to defeat al Qaeda and with this, it has reaffirmed its unmistakable message that it will not compromise with the security of its nationals and any threat to its sovereignty. However, the development has left everyone with a pertinent question - what would be the likely fallout of Laden’s killing? Whether it would lead to a safer world? Whether it would enable the US to further weaken al Qaeda’s global terror network and disintegrate it from the Taliban? It is yet to be seen whether Laden’s killing would turn out to be a turning point in US-Pak counter-terrorism partnership and whether US will now act tough against Pakistan given the fact that Osama was provided a safe haven in Pakistan.

The development also holds significance for New Delhi, which has always raised doubts over Islamabad’s commitment to fighting terrorism. Osama’s confirmed presence and killing in the backyard of capital Islamabad vindicates India’s stand that Pakistan remains the epicentre of terrorism.However, the question still remains unanswered as to when will we get the heads of those who masterminded the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai? When will India punish the hijackers of Indian Airlines flight IC-814, which finally saw the dreaded militant Maulana Masood Azhar slipping out of India’s hands? When will the founders of several banned terrorist organizations including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, SIMI etc be brought to justice.

Osama’s death is a pointer to the fact the establishment in Pakistan is involved in a dual game – on one hand it claims to be acting as a committed partner to the US in its war against terror, and on the other, it has been remote controlling terror activities and shielding militant groups operating openly on its soil. All this lends credence to India’s repeated claims that the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack, including the controllers and handlers of the terrorists who actually carried out the attack, continue to hide in Pakistan.So, is it not high time for the world, especially the United States to realise that Pakistan has not fulfilled its commitment on fighting terrorism and has in fact cheated all in the pretext of diplomacy. The government of India must not miss out on this opportunity and must mobilize support of international community in pressurising Pakistan to arrest those suspected to be behind Mumbai terror attacks.

India must use diplomatic channels to build pressure on Islamabad to take action against the Jihadi groups involved in anti-India activities and provide voice samples of those suspected to be among the controllers and handlers of the 26/11 terrorists.
The killing of one Osama bin Laden will not end the global war on terrorism and it is beyond doubt that al Qaeda will get demoralised and will not avenge the death of their supreme leader, so the governments world over now need to be more vigilant and active on counter-terrorism efforts. We must also ensure that the international community does not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own neighbourhood. The struggle to defeat religious fanaticism must continue unabated.

Will India be able to deliver justice?

“Justice has been done”. As soon as US President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed, jubilant Americans flocked to Ground Zero to mark the death of world’s No. 1 terrorist. The killer of thousands of people was shot in the head in the 40-minute operation by US forces on the land of Pakistan.

The ‘Kill Osama’ operation has popped up a very significant debate in India. Can India conduct a similar operation against its enemies, who are hiding in Pakistan? Do Indian politicians have the resolve to bring to justice 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, LeT terrorist Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri and 1993 Mumbai serial blasts mastermind Dawood Ibrahim?

The whole operation makes clear one thing. Diplomacy with Pakistan without pressure does not work. Pakistan talks the talk but does not walk the talk. India has claimed it oft times that the US’ key ally in the war against terror – Pakistan – actually harbors terrorism. The claims made in leaked US government documents obtained by WikiLeaks prove it. The leaks say Pakistan’s security services used to tip off Osama bin Laden whenever US troops approached. Not surprisingly, the terror lord was found in a mansion in Abbottabad, home to many retired military and intelligence figures and just a mile away from the gate of the Pakistan Military Academy.

Whether the operation was carried out with or without Pakistan, the killing of Osama has exposed the two-faced Islamabad. Pakistan had used 9/11 as an opportunity to be an ally of the US in its war against terror. But this time, Pakistan has been left in a dubious state. If Pakistan says the US conducted this operation with its knowledge, it puts the South Asian country on terror radar. If Pakistan says it had no beforehand knowledge of the US’ operation, it proves the country is dumb enough to be fooled. US helicopters breached Pakistan’s defences and later Barack Obama informed Asif Ali Zardari about the triumphant operation.
But the point is: will New Delhi go beyond handing out dossiers to Islamabad? Will India be able to deliver justice to those who were shockingly terrorized and still painfully recall the horrific and deadly blasts in which their kin were killed? What will India do besides reiterating calls for Pakistan to arrest those behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people? Indubitably, Indian agencies know the addresses of most of the wanted terrorists, who scoff at India in speeches and vicious acts. So, can India do the US in Pakistan?
China has come out in support of its all-weather ally, Pakistan. Beijing has also indicated it would not force Islamabad to hand over perpetrators of 26/11 to India. Already, China-Pakistan ties are a cause of concern for India. And it is also worrying that China will use this moment to increase its influence in Pakistan, where most of the population is angry about the fact that the US forces killed Osama on their country’s soil.
Why is it that at every opportunity, our ministers plead to the United States to tell Pakistan to bring 26/11 perpetrators to justice? Indian politicians seem to have no determination to act tough with Pakistan. Even after 26/11, what India could do was to call back its High Commissioner from Islamabad. Osama’s death brings with it a lesson for the Indian government. Move beyond just talks, Mr PM. If Pakistan were to be persuaded by talks, New Delhi would have gotten hold of most of its wanted man by now. But this certainly is not the case. India’s na├»ve approach to stop Pakistan from sponsoring terror has produced no results.
The US has killed its Osama, but India’s many Osamas are still hiding in the safe havens of Pakistan. Will India be able to deliver justice now? Hopes are slim, sadly.

Al Zawahiri betrayed Osama to the US?

Dubai: Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was betrayed by his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri who led US forces to his hideout as the two were involved in an intense power struggle, a Saudi newspaper has reported. The two top al Qaeda men had differences and the courier who led US forces to bin Laden was working and had more loyalties for Zawahiri, al Watan newspaper reported quoting Arab sources. "The Egyptian faction of al Qaeda led by Zawahiri was de facto running the militant group, after bin Laden was taken ill in 2004 and they were trying to take full control," the paper said.
The courier was a Pakistani national and not a Kuwaiti as the US suspected and the man knew he was being followed but disguised the fact.

The paper claimed it was Zawahiri's faction which had persuaded Osama to leave tribal areas close to Afghanistan-Pakistan border to take shelter instead in Abbottabad, where he was finally killed by US SEALs on Monday. The plan to dispose of bin Laden had by a prominent al Qaeda commander Saif al Adel of Egyptian descent, who returned to Pakistan from Iran, last autumn. Al Adel had reportedly escaped to Iran escorting Osama's other son and family members after 9/11. The courier was a Pakistani national and not a Kuwaiti as the US suspected and the man knew he was being followed but disguised the fact.

The paper claimed it was Zawahiri's faction which had persuaded Osama to leave tribal areas close to Afghanistan-Pakistan border to take shelter instead in Abbottabad, where he was finally killed by US SEALs on Monday. The plan to dispose of bin Laden had by a prominent al Qaeda commander Saif al Adel of Egyptian descent, who returned to Pakistan from Iran, last autumn. Al Adel had reportedly escaped to Iran escorting Osama's other son and family members after 9/11. The courier was a Pakistani national and not a Kuwaiti as the US suspected and the man knew he was being followed but disguised the fact.

The paper claimed it was Zawahiri's faction which had persuaded Osama to leave tribal areas close to Afghanistan-Pakistan border to take shelter instead in Abbottabad, where he was finally killed by US SEALs on Monday. The plan to dispose of bin Laden had by a prominent al Qaeda commander Saif al Adel of Egyptian descent, who returned to Pakistan from Iran, last autumn. Al Adel had reportedly escaped to Iran escorting Osama's other son and family members after 9/11. The courier was a Pakistani national and not a Kuwaiti as the US suspected and the man knew he was being followed but disguised the fact.

The paper claimed it was Zawahiri's faction which had persuaded Osama to leave tribal areas close to Afghanistan-Pakistan border to take shelter instead in Abbottabad, where he was finally killed by US SEALs on Monday. The plan to dispose of bin Laden had by a prominent al Qaeda commander Saif al Adel of Egyptian descent, who returned to Pakistan from Iran, last autumn.
Al Adel had reportedly escaped to Iran escorting Osama's other son and family members after 9/11. The courier was a Pakistani national and not a Kuwaiti as the US suspected and the man knew he was being followed but disguised the fact.
The paper claimed it was Zawahiri's faction which had persuaded Osama to leave tribal areas close to Afghanistan-Pakistan border to take shelter instead in Abbottabad, where he was finally killed by US SEALs on Monday.
The plan to dispose of bin Laden had by a prominent al Qaeda commander Saif al Adel of Egyptian descent, who returned to Pakistan from Iran, last autumn.
Al Adel had reportedly escaped to Iran escorting Osama's other son and family members after 9/11. Al-Adel is a member of the majlis al shura of al-Qaeda and a member of its military committee, and he provided military and intelligence training to members of al Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan, and to anti-UN Somali tribes

Pak needs to do more about LeT, Hafiz Saeed

Timothy J. Roemer, U.S. Ambassador to India, said the American Congress would be taking a “very hard look” and ask “tough” questions as to how terror mastermind and al-Qaeda leader bin Laden was living in Abottabad, north of Islamabad.

Pak needs to do more about LeT, Hafiz Saeed: Roemer

"We are certainly going to see the Capitol Hill (U.S. Congress) take a very hard look at the assistance that we give and we invest in security for Pakistan," Mr. Roemer told reporters here.

Noting that the Congress was going to engage in two very fundamentally important task in the weeks ahead, he said the U.S. lawmakers will look into the selling of military equipment to Pakistan and the presence of bin Laden in Abottabad.

"One will be as we share or sell certain military equipment to Pakistan. Is that being used in the proper way to take on counter terrorism efforts. We have seen over the past 18 months, Pakistan has stepped up those efforts to target al Qaeda leadership and degrade that leadership. That is a positive outcome," he said.

However, he said, "Are they doing enough on LeT? Are they doing enough on Mumbai trials? Are they doing enough on Hafiz Saeed and (Zaki-ur-Rehman) Lakhvi? No, they need to do more."

Pak needs to do more about LeT, Hafiz Saeed: Roemer

He said the other question that will be raised by the U.S. Congress will be with respect to bin Laden being discovered outside of Islamabad. "We remember Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was discovered inside Rawalpindi back in 2003. This is a concern. Congress will ask tough questions and we want to get to the bottom of it. How do we more effectively use that aid to make sure that Pakistan is helping us not only degrade al Qeada but go after groups like LeT," he said.

Mr. Roemer said the killing of bin Laden showed that the U.S. was "undeterred" in seeking justice.

He said U.S. President Barack Obama has noted that they would not have been able to kill bin Laden, had it "not been for some of cooperation" that Pakistan extends to the U.S., particularly in targeting al-Qaeda leaders.

However, he said, the U.S. knew that Pakistan "needs to do more" and it has been seen "very evidently" from senior level U.S. officials visiting Islamabad telling "very clearly" so.

"We continue to encourage Pakistan to show results on Mumbai trials, to take on LeT as a terrorist group and to make sure that people like Lakhvi stay in prison," he said.

Mr. Roemer said Pakistan "needs to show" progress and results in Mumbai trials and the US wants to see progress, results and justice.

"We also continue to work with our partners in India against groups like LeT and we continue to work in this security partnership on strengthening Indian capacity against terrorist attacks...," he said.

dramatically minimised collateral damage

We won't trot out Osama photos as trophies: Obama

Washington: US President Barack Obama has decided not to release photos of killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's body saying, "We don't trot out this stuff as trophies".

We won't trot out Osama photos as trophies: Obama

Announcing Obama's decision "not to release any of the photographs of deceased Osama bin Laden", White House Press Secretary Jay Carney read a quote from Obama to CBS "60 Minutes" to be telecast Sunday.

"When they landed, we had very strong confirmation that it was him. Photographs had been taken. Facial analysis had indicated that in fact it was him. We hadn't yet done DNA testing, but at that point we were 95 percent sure."

Obama saw the pictures? "Yes."

Reaction? "It was him."

Why not release them? "We discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain that this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing. So there was no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden."

"It is very important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of someone shot in the head are not floating around ... as a propaganda tool. That's not who we are," Obama said.

"We don't trot out this stuff as trophies. ... I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don't need to spike the football. ... would create some national security risk."

Carney said in reaching the decision about not releasing the photos, Obama talked about it with Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"He held his opinion very firmly," Carney said.

Asked about CIA Director Leon Panetta's claim that a photo would be released, Carney said there's a "compelling argument" for releasing information. He says Obama was "engaged" in the discussion.

We won't trot out Osama photos as trophies: Obama

Osama would have been taken alive if he had surrendered: White House

The American commando team that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden would have taken him alive if he had surrendered, the White House said Wednesday.

"If he had surrendered ... then that would have been bringing him to justice as well," press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. "But he was brought to justice on Sunday."

The American team "had the authority to kill Osama bin Laden unless he offered to surrender," he said. Asked about Pakistan's claim that the raid was unlawful, Carney asserted, "The raid was entirely lawful".

"We have a complicated but vital and important relationship with Pakistan," he said. "We don't agree on everything. But their cooperation has been essential."

Asked about the "firefight" in the bin Laden raid Sunday, and who was firing back at American forces, Carney said the White House has been "as helpful as we can be to provide as much information as we can", but that the administration won't be releasing details yet.

On where bin Laden was shot, Carney said: "Above the neck." He said he would not go into "operational details" of the Osama bin Laden raid, but he said that the American team's efforts "dramatically minimised collateral damage".

Asked if bin Laden's location have been known without torture techniques, Carney said: "I can say with certainty that no single piece of information, with the exception of the address of the compound, was vital to this, was singularly vital to this, because we're talking about tiny bits of information that were compiled by unbelievably competent professionals ... over nine and a half years." There was no "thread" that "held the thought together", he said

Al Qaeda would "deepen Pakistan's embarrassment"

Two days after Osama bin Laden's dramatic killing, the US Wednesday described its ties with Islamabad as "complicated" with the CIA chief saying that Pakistan was either "involved or incompetent" in la'affaire Osama.

Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US

In a stinging attack, CIA director Leon Panetta told US lawmakers that Washington was trying to get to the bottom of Pakistan's "troubling" role in their professed ignorance about the whereabouts of the Al Qaeda chief.

In a closed door briefing for House members Tuesday, Panetta said that "either they were involved or incompetent. Neither place is a good place to be", CNN reported.

Senators were unrelenting in their attack on Pakistan, a country whose leaders have repeatedly claimed that Osama, the world's most wanted terror leader, was either dead or hiding in Afghanistan.

"It had everything except a neon sign sticking out there," Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg told CNN, referring to spacious and high-walled mansion in Pakistan's Abbottabad city where US special forces shot dead Osama after a 40-minute gun battle Sunday night.

Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US

Republican Allen West echoed the angry mood in the Congress.

"There is no way people in the ISI (Pakistan's intelligence agency) and military did not know that Osama has been living there for quite some time," said West, who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In his detailed briefing on how Osama was trapped and killed, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney spoke approvingly of Pakistan's cooperation on the war on terror but admitted that US-Pakistani ties were "complicated".

"Pakistan is a partner - a key partner - in the fight against Al Qaeda and terrorism," he said. "It's a complicated relationship. There's no question. And we do have our differences."

In India, US envoy Timothy J. Roemer kept up the pressure.

"We are certainly going to see Capitol Hill take a very hard look at the assistance that we give (to Pakistan)," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi.

Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US

Underlining that Pakistan needed to do more against terrorists, Roemer said it had to be seen whether Islamabad was using the funds given by the US in a "proper way".

"Congress is going to engage in I think two very fundamentally important tasks in the weeks ahead. One will be as we share or sell certain military equipment to Pakistan, is that being used in the proper way to take on counter terrorism efforts."

While conceding that Pakistan had taken on Al Qaeda, he said it wasn't, however, doing enough against terrorists ranged against India.

"Are they doing enough on Lashkar-e-Taiba? Are they doing enough on Mumbai trials? Are they doing enough on Hafiz Saeed and (Zakiur Rehman) Lakhvi? No, they need to do more."

He said Pakistan should also show results on trying the masterminds of the Mumbai massacre of November 2008.

Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US

"They need to show progress and results on the Mumbai trials. That Mumbai attack on 26/11 killed scores of Indians, six Americans, and the US wants to see progress and results and justice."

Roemer said Osama's discovery in Pakistan would also be taken up.

"The second part of this will be in respect to bin Laden being discovered outside of Islamabad.

"Congress will ask tough questions and go to the bottom. How do we more effectively use that aid, I am sure Pakistan is helping us not only degrade Al Qaeda, but go after groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba," he said.

In Pakistan, there were more voices of disbelief that American's enemy number 1 was holed up near a Pakistani military academy in Abbottabad even as Islamabad claimed to be chasing the Al Qaeda leadership.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain demanded an apology from the Pakistani government and intelligence agencies for their lapse on allowing Osama to hide deep inside Pakistan.

Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US

Dawn newspaper echoed the national despair: "Right under our military`s nose was found Osama ... living in relative comfort in a compound with stringent security that somehow went unnoticed.

"Add to this the way he was killed, and embarrassment turns into deep shame."

A Canadian newspaper meanwhile reported that the Pakistan-backed Hizbul Mujahideen, which seeks to end Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir, owned the Abbottabad mansion where Osama was killed.

It added the HM, as the group is widely known, had the backing of the Pakistani military.

The report added that Hizbul's links to Al Qaeda would "deepen Pakistan's embarrassment" over Osama's death

BAD DEATH OF TERROR

12-year-old daughter saw captured Osama executed

Islamabad: Osama bin Laden was unarmed at the time of his killing and his 12-year-old daughter saw her father being shot dead, it was revealed on Wednesday, even as the exact circumstances of the al-Qaida chief's death remained unclear and the White House changed versions.

12-year-old daughter saw captured Osama executed

An Arabic TV station claimed the child had, in fact, said her father was taken prisoner and then shot, in an execution of sorts.

The girl is now in custody with a Yemeni wife of Osama's, an Inter-Services Intelligence ( ISI) official said. Up to 12 women and children who survived the US raid on their villa were now in custody, he said.

The child, reported to be 12 years old, "was the one who confirmed to us that Osama was dead and shot and taken away", said the official.

An Arabic television station went further, saying, "a source in Pakistani security quoted the daughter of Osama bin Laden that the leader of al-Qaida was not killed inside his house, but had been arrested and was killed later".

Four bodies were retrieved from the daring covert attack, including one of bin Laden's sons, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Up to three women and nine children, including the young Yemeni woman who was shot in the leg and a daughter of the Saudi-born mastermind, were in detention, he said. "There are a lot of questions we want to ask them," another intelligence official said.

12-year-old daughter saw captured Osama executed

Taliban create special unit to avenge Osama killing

The Taliban have created a special unit in Afghanistan to avenge the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, an outfit commander in Afghanistan told Al Jazeera.

"We have created a special unit to avenge the martyr Sheikh Osama bin Laden," Dawran Safi told the satellite TV channel. "We will take forward his standard and wage war against foreigners and their agents," Safi said in an interview from the Afghan capital.

Wife shot in leg, screamed Osama's name

Osama bin Laden's youngest wife, Amal Al-Sadah, 27 was shot in the leg in Monday's raid on the Abbottabad complex where the terror kingpin was in hiding.

Reports say that Osama and those with him in the sprawling three-storey structure were taken by surprise when the Seals descended on them. The al-Qaida chief was sleeping in a baggy salwar suit, reports say.

As the Seals secured the compound and moved into the building, there was confusion and reports say, she shrieked out Osama's name which gave the terror mastermind away in the melee.

12-year-old daughter saw captured Osama executed

Early reports had said she was being used as a human shield to protect Osama but later the US establishment came up with a denial of the story. It was later said that one woman had indeed got caught in the crossfire and had died, but she was not Osama's youngest wife.

This unnamed woman could well be the wife of bin Laden's courier, Sheikh Abu Ahmed, who died in the raid. In the new version of the story that White House press secretary Jay Carney gave out, he said: "bin Laden's wife rushed the assaulters and was shot in the leg but not killed."

Al-Sadah was was married to Osama when she was just 17 and fiercely loyal to her husband. Their wedding took place in Afghanistan. Yemen born, the marriage was reportedly arranged to strengthen the al-Qaida chief's links with the Gulf.

Her father was supposed to have been "proud" when he gave her away to the global terror kingpin. But bin Laden sent her back to Yemen out of concern for her safety. Al-Sadah refused to stay home and managed to return despite being under surveillance. She told interrogators that she had been living in the mansion since 2005.

Bin Laden had €500 cash, was ready to flee

In indications that Osama bin Laden was prepared to flee at short notice, cash totalling 500 euros and two telephone numbers were found sewn into his clothing when he was killed by US commandos deep inside Pakistan on Sunday.

12-year-old daughter saw captured Osama executed

US media reported that this information was given by top intelligence officials to members of the Congress at a classified briefing at which CIA director Leon Panetta was present.

Another US media report said the American troops that swooped on bin Laden's compound at Abbottabad may have laid their hands on the "largest potential intelligence coup of the post-9/11 era".

The Navy Seals, which conducted the 40-minute operation, carried off five computers, 10 hard drives and more than 100 storage devices and removable flash drives, the Wall Street Journal said.

A CIA task force, which has already conducted a preliminary analysis of the material, is hunting for leads on the location of the slain al-Qaida leader's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is widely expected to ascend to the top of the outfit.

US publication 'Politico', quoting sources who attended Panetta's briefing, reported that the CIA chief told lawmakers about the items found in bin Laden's clothing in response to a question about why he wasn't guarded by more security personnel at his home in Abbottabad.

The answer, according to one source, bin Laden believed that "his network was strong enough to give him a heads-up" before any US strike.

The evidence of cash, which amounts to $740 and phone numbers was divulged to support the US administration's belief that bin Laden was prepared to escape the compound if alerted to an impending attack.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pakistani intelligence chief says Osama, one son killed

Pakistan’s intelligence chief on Monday confirmed the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and one of his sons in a joint operation by U.S. and Pakistani forces.

Pakistani intelligence chief says Osama, one son killed

A screen grab from Express TV shows the dead body of Osama bin Laden, as seen in Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo: AP

Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence, told Duniya television that bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, about 60 kilometres north-east of the capital Islamabad.

He was killed along with three guards and a son whose name was not given. Six other sons, three wives and four aides were arrested, Mr. Pasha said.

The operation started just after midnight and continued for hours, an intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

"The actual operation was conducted by U.S. special forces and Pakistani forces were backing them." Residents in Abbottabad, a town of around 200,000 people, said the operation started just after midnight when three helicopters tried to land in the neighbourhood Bilal Town, about 1 kilometre from the military academy.

"First I heard the sounds of firearms, then I saw a helicopter catching fire and crashing into a residential area," said Ghulam Rasool, a security guard at a local market, who saw the scene from a distance. "Two planes were also flying overhead." Pakistani forces have cordoned off the area and a search operation is being conducted.

Source: DPA

Pakistani intelligence chief says Osama, one son killed

An image made from Geo TV shows flames at what is thought to be the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed. Photo: AP

Osama's son killed in Pakistan

Islamabad: A son of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan, a media report said.

Xinhua quoted Duniya TV as saying that one of bin Laden's sons was killed in an operation. The report didn't name him.

Osama bin Laden was killed Monday in a security operation in Pakistan's Abbotabad city, less than 100 km from the Pakistan capital.

US President Barack Obama said that the US launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad.

"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," said Obama.

Osama's six children, two wives held in Pakistan

Islamabad: Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's six children and two wives have been arrested in Pakistan, a media report said.

Osama bin Laden was killed Monday in a security operation in Pakistan's Abbotabad city, less than 100 km from the Pakistan capital.

Sources said Osama's six children, two wives and four close friends were arrested during a search operation launched early Monday morning by the Pakistani forces in a mountainous area located some 60 km north of Pakistan's capital Islamabad, Xinhua qouted Dunya TV as saying.

World cheers bin Laden's death as victory

The death of Osama bin Laden was celebrated around the world as a victory for justice, but many people cautioned that it would not end terrorist attacks or ease suffering of those who lost loved ones in bombings by al—Qaeda—linked militants.

Spontaneous, celebratory rallies broke out in New York City at ground zero, where the twin towers fell on September 11, 2001 and outside the White House where President Barack Obama made the historic announcement. At the same time, U.S. embassies across the globe were placed on high alert and Americans warned about possible reprisals for the death of the man who masterminded the September 11 attacks.

"Al -- Qaeda will continue," said Haroun Mir, an Afghan analyst in Kabul, who added that the death in a raid on a mansion in Pakistan vindicated longtime allegations by Afghanistan that bin Laden enjoyed "safe havens" in the neighbouring country.

Chairul Akbar, secretary general of the anti -- terrorism agency in Indonesia - the world's most populous Muslim nation and a frequent al -- Qaida target - expressed jubilation about the news. Attacks blamed on al -- Qaiea -- linked militants have killed more than 260 people in Indonesia, many of them foreign tourists.

"We welcome the death of one of the world's most dangerous men and highly appreciate the United States' help in crushing this global enemy," he said. "He couldn't be allowed to live. He helped spread a dangerous ideology all over the world, including in Indonesia."

Said Agil Siradj, chairman of Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, said bin Laden's death will help restore the image of Islam as one of people, not violence and radicalism.

"But I don't think terrorism will stop with his death," Mr. Saradj said. "As long as there is oppression and injustice against Muslims in Palestine it will continue."

Brian Deegan, a lawyer from the southern Australian city of Adelaide who lost his 21 -- year -- old son Josh in al -- Qaiea -- linked bombings on Indonesia's resort island of Bali in 2002, said he felt a "cold shiver" when learning about bin Laden's death on a car radio.

"I don't gain any satisfaction in his death - nothing will bring Josh back to me," Mr. Deegan said. "But as for my remaining three children, I gain a sense of some security - I feel better for the future for my remaining three children."

Mr. Deegan thinks most Australians will share his sense of relief, he said.

"It does show that persons who exact horrific crimes on others on such a mass scale, even in this enormous world of ours, they can run and they can hide, but eventually they will be found," Mr. Deegan said.

Bin Laden fired his weapon during fight

Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist, was killed early on Monday by US special forces in a helicopter-borne operation at Abbottabad near the Pakistani capital, climaxing a over 10-year long massive manhunt.

Bin Laden fired his weapon during fight: Reports

The special forces personnel swooped down on the compound where bin Laden was holed up guarded by his ultra loyal Arab bodyguards in a pre-dawn operation killing the dreaded terrorist, US officials said.

The news of the slaying of the world's most prominent terror mastermind was broken to the world by US President Barack Obama, who made the announcement live from White House.

"Bin Laden, 54, is dead and his body is in US custody," President Obama said at half past 11 midnight US time after initial story had been broken by news channels. Though it was dark, crowds massed outside White House chanting 'USA, USA'.

Besides the al-Qaeda chief who carried a bounty of USD 25 million, two couriers one of whom was his son and the other a woman, reportedly used as a human shields, were killed in the operation, unnamed American officials were quoted as saying by ABC News.

First reports said that it was through these couriers that bin Laden had been traced.

Other women and children present in the compound were not harmed, according to Pakistani officials.

An American helicopter was destroyed by US Navy Seals after it was damaged and crashed during the operation that targeted a large compound in Bilal Town area near Abbottabad, 120 km from Islamabad.

There was no word from the Pakistani government or military on the operation.

Two US helicopters swept into the compound at 1:30 am and 2 am and 20 to 25 Navy Seals under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command stormed the compound in cooperation with the CIA and engaged bin Laden and his men in a firefight, US officials told ABC News.

Bin Laden fired his weapon during the fight, the US officials said.

The Americans took bin Laden's body into custody after the firefight and confirmed his identity.

One of the US helicopters was damaged during the operation and the troops decided to destroy it themselves with explosives.

Several Pakistani news channels beamed grainy footage of a burning helicopter on the empty lawn of the compound.

They also beamed footage of the compound surrounded by Pakistani troops this morning.

Pakistani troops also conducted a house-to-house search in the area, reports said.

Taliban vows to avenge Osama's death; Zardari on hit-list

The Pakistani Taliban today warned that they would target Pakistan and the US to avenge the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden by US special forces in a raid near the garrison city of Abbottabad.

Taliban vows to avenge Osama's death; Zardari on hit-list

In an audio message issued to the Pakistani media from an undisclosed location, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan confirmed the death of bin Laden, the world's most wanted man, and said his group would take revenge for his killing.

"We will avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan is now the first target of the Taliban and the US the second," said Ahsan, who spoke in Pashto. He warned that Pakistan's leaders were on the Taliban's hit list.

In telephone calls to journalists in northwest Pakistan shortly after the US announced the killing of bin Laden yesterday, Ahsan warned that top Pakistani leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari, and the Pakistan Army would be the "first targets" of his group.

Ahsan also said in his audio message that the US should not be jubilant about killing bin Laden as American authorities took 10 years to find the al-Qaeda chief.

"We killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (in 2007). After three months of planning, we sent a suicide bomber to kill her... We completed our objective in three months while the US was trailing Osama bin Laden for 10 years," he said.

Taliban vows to avenge Osama's death; Zardari on hit-list

US officials have often said that the Pakistani Taliban, led by Hakimullah Mehsud, has close ties to al-Qaeda. Both groups have safe havens in Pakistan's tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, the American administration has said.

Pakistan's President denies harbouring Osama bin Laden

Pakistan's president has denied suspicions that his country's security forces may have sheltered Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari says Pakistani forces weren't involved in Monday's operation against bin Laden but that Pakistan's "decade of cooperation" with the U.S. led to his elimination.

Bin Laden was killed in a large house close to a military academy in the bustling north-western town of Abbottabad, not in the remote Afghan border region as many had assumed, raising questions over how security forces were not aware of his presence.

Zardari says in an opinion piece in Monday's Washington Post that "such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn't reflect fact." It was Pakistan's first formal comment on the suspicions.

Books Osama spawned

Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US forces in Pakistan, was a shadowy figure who spawned a vast booty of books, art and performance acts. A list of some of the books inspired by the 'padshah' of terror who masterminded the 9/11 attack.

Literature of terror: Books Osama spawned

* "The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda" written by Peter L. Bergen, CNN's national security analyst is an overview of the war on terror. It explores the persona of the Al Qaeda leader and an intimate understanding of how the organisation works on a day-to-day basis. The book said the Al Qaeda had a growing list of enemies, including the Muslims, who did not agree with their "ultra-fundamentalist" view.

* "The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century" by Steve Coll

The Pulitzer Prize winning author portrays the 9/11 mastermind as a complex human being and his relationships with his father, Muhammad, who made a fortune in Saudi Arabia as the king's principal builder; and his older brother Salem, a British-educated, music-loving playboy. Coll suggests bin Laden turned to jihad because of the worsening relationships with the Saudi royal family, his own relatives and anger at America. The US forced Sudan to expel bin Laden from the country where he raised horses and sunflowers on a farm while training jihadis).

* "Osama: The Making Of A Terrorist" by Jonathan Randal

This book by a former Washington Post correspondent chronicles Osama's combat experiences as an anti-Soviet jihadi, his growing radicalisation and the role that various mentors and surrogate fathers played in his evolution.

* "Osama Bin Laden" by Michael Scheuer

The author, who once headed the CIA's Osama bin Laden's unit, dissects the puritanical religious views of the terror mastermind. He says that bin Laden was not a rash terrorist but a shrewd strategist and tactician. He says the 2003 Iraq war was a great training ground for bin Laden.

Literature of terror: Books Osama spawned

* "Holy War Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden" by Peter L. Bergen

The writer says in the book that bin Laden's anger at US has little to do with Western culture; movies or drug and alcohol use; but rather with America's policies in the Middle East namely "the continued US military presence in Arabia; US support for Israel; its continued bombing of Iraq; and its support for regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia that bin Laden regards as apostates from Islam".

* "Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan; and bin Laden; from the Soviet invasion to September 10, 2001" by Steve Coll

This book examines the C.I.A.'s covert role during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and America's subsequent neglect of the country during the post-Cold War 1990s, when the Taliban and Al Qaeda took advantage of the political vacuum.

* "In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan" by Seth G. Jones

This book by a professor at Georgetown University documents several decades of relations between US and Afghanistan, focusing on what went awry after America's successful routing of the Taliban in late 2001. Among the author's conclusions is that US must "persuade Pakistani military and civilian leaders to conduct a sustained campaign against militants mounting attacks in Afghanistan and the region".

Literature of terror: Books Osama spawned

* "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" by Lawrence Wright

Based on more than 500 interviews, this book gives the reader a view of the events leading to 9/11. It also throws light on the motley cast which made the Qaeda core like bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, who promoted the idea that only violence could change history. He also follows bin Laden as a shy adolescent to a radical youth.

* "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of Al Qaeda's Leader" by Peter L. Bergen

No one knows more about Osama than Peter L. Bergen. In 1997, well before the West suddenly became aware of the world's most sought-after terrorist, Bergen met him and has followed his activity ever since. The book provides unprecedented insights into bin Laden's life and character drawing on the experiences of some of his most intimate associates.

Terror on celluloid:

Al Quaida leader Osama bin Laden, world's biggest terrorist who was killed Monday by the US Army, spawned quite a few documentaries and some movies that tracked the 9/11 mastermind who remained a mystery till his death.

Terror on celluloid: Documentaries, movies tracking Osama

Here is the list of some of the documentaries and movies inspired by Ladin:

"Bin Laden: The Early Years": Director Jon Blair made the TV documentary in 2001.

"The World's Most Wanted Man": British documentary by director Rob Carey.

"Bin Laden: The Failings of a Manhunt": Another documentary that alleged that French soldiers could have killed Osama bin Laden twice but didn't because they had no orders from the US commanders.

"Dispatches: Bin Laden's Plan Of Terror": A 2001 TV documentary by director Eamonn Matthews.

"Meeting Osama Bin Laden": Made in 2004, the documentary focused on one-dimensional image of Osama bin Laden that dominated Western perceptions. It is said that director Zvi Dor-Ner created an objective piece tracing the life of Osama bin Laden.

"Osama Bin Laden: Behind the Madness": The 2002 comedy, written and directed by Benjamin Koldyke, had put together the interviews and stories about Laden and his terrorist ways.

Terror on celluloid: Documentaries, movies tracking Osama

"Panorama: The Hunt For Bin Laden" In the same year BBC TV made this documentary that follows a group of American infantrymen as they hunt and destroy Al Qaeda caves and develop a new understanding of their foe.

"Targeted: Osama Bin Laden": Documentary, 2004.

"Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?" Documentary, 2008.

"Postal": The comedy came in 2007 and was based on a 2003 video game. In the film, bin Laden speaks in an American accent and is hiding out in Arizona since 2001.

"Tere Bin Laden": A satire made by Indian filmmaker debutant director Abhishek Sharma in 2010, it revolved around Osama's look alike. It was the launch vehicle of Pakistani singer-turned-actor Ali Zafar and newcomer Pradhuman Singh, who portrays Osama in the movie. It was a big hit.

A life of fanaticism and terror

A life of fanaticism and terror

Washington: The most intense manhunt in history finally caught up with Osama bin Laden, but his life's story will be told many different ways by different people. Reviled in the West as the personification of evil, bin Laden was admired and even revered by some fellow Muslims who embraced his vision of unending jihad against the United States and Arab governments he deemed as infidels.

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

Bin Laden's money and preaching inspired the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed some 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, and forever ripped a hole in America's feeling of security in the world.

His actions set off a chain of events that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and a clandestine war against extreme Islamic adherents that touched scores of countries on every continent but Antarctica. America's entire intelligence apparatus was overhauled to counter the threat of more terror attacks at home.

Bin Laden was killed in an operation led by the United States, President Barack Obama said Sunday. A small team of Americans carried out the attack and took custody of bin Laden's remains, Obama said.

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

Bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization has also been blamed for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 231 people and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in Yemen, as well as countless other plots, some successful and some foiled

Perhaps as significant was his ability -- even from hiding -- to inspire a new generation of terrorists to murder in his name. Most of al-Qaeda's top lieutenants have been killed or captured in the years since Sept. 11, 2001, and intelligence officials in Europe and Asia say they now see a greater threat from homegrown radical groups energized by bin Laden's cause.

Al-Qaeda is not thought to have provided logistical or financial support to the group of North African Muslims who pulled off the March 11, 2004, bombings in Madrid, Spain -- which killed 191 people -- but they were certainly inspired by its dream of worldwide jihad. Likewise, no link has been established between Al-Qaeda and the four British Muslim suicide bombers who killed 52 people in London on July 7, 2005, but few believe the attack would have taken place had bin Laden not aroused the passions of young Muslim radicals the world over.

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

The war in Iraq -- justified in part by erroneous intelligence that suggested Saddam Hussein had both weapons of mass destruction and a link to al-Qaeda -- has become the cauldron in which the world's next generation of terrorists are honing their skills.

While scant evidence has emerged of a link between Saddam and bin Laden's inner circle, there is no doubt that Al-Qaeda took advantage of the chaos of post-Saddam Iraq -- helping to drag the United States into a quagmire that led to the death of some 5,000 American troops, and many scores of thousands of Iraqis.

Indeed, bin Laden's legacy is a world still very much on edge.

Frightening terms like dirty bomb, anthrax and weapons of mass destruction have become staples of the global vocabulary; and others like Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and extraordinary rendition have fueled a burning anger in the Muslim world.

But long before bin Laden became the world's most hunted man, few believed fate would move him in that direction.

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

Bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia in 1954. He became known as the most pious of the sons among his wealthy father's 54 children. Bin Laden's path to militant Islam began as a teenager in the 1970s when he got caught up in the fundamentalist movement then sweeping Saudi Arabia. He was a voracious reader of Islamic literature and listened to weekly sermons in the holy city of Mecca.

Thin, bearded and over 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall, bin Laden joined the Afghans' war against invading Soviet troops in the 1980s and gained a reputation as a courageous and resourceful commander. Access to his family's considerable construction fortune certainly helped raise his profile among the mujahedeen fighters.

At the time, bin Laden's interests converged with those of the United States, which backed the ``holy war'' against Soviet occupation with money and arms.

When bin Laden returned home to Saudi Arabia, he was showered with praise and donations and was in demand as a speaker in mosques and homes. It did not take long for his aims to diverge from those of his former Western supporters.

"When we buy American goods, we are accomplices in the murder of Palestinians", he said in one of the cassettes made of his speeches from those days.

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

A seminal moment in bin Laden's life came in 1990, when U.S. troops landed on Saudi soil to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

Bin Laden tried to dissuade the government from allowing non-Muslim armies into the land where the Prophet Muhammad gave birth to Islam, but the Saudi leadership turned to the United States to protect its vast oil reserves. When bin Laden continued criticizing Riyadh's close alliance with Washington, he was stripped of Saudi citizenship.

"I saw radical changes in his personality as he changed from a calm, peaceful and gentle man interested in helping Muslims into a person who believed that he would be able to amass and command an army to liberate Kuwait. It revealed his arrogance and his haughtiness", Prince Turki, the former Saudi intelligence chief, said in an interview with Arab News and MBC television in late 2001.

"His behavior at that time left no impression that he would become what he has become", the prince added.

The prince, who said he met bin Laden several times years ago in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, described him as "a gentle, enthusiastic young man of few words who didn't raise his voice while talking".

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of Al-Quds al-Arabi, London-based newspaper, spent 10 days with bin Laden in an Afghan cave in 1996. He said bin Laden ``touched the root of the grievances of millions in the Arab world'' when he presented himself as the alternative to Arab regimes that have been incapable of liberating Arab land from Israeli occupation and restoring pride to their people.

He said bin Laden and his followers never feared death.

"Those guys spoke about death the way young men talk about going to the disco,'' Atwan said. ``They envied those who fell in battle because they died as martyrs in God's cause.''

Still, bin Laden had a knack for staying alive.

After being kicked out of Saudi Arabia, bin Laden sought refuge in Sudan. The African country acceded to a U.S. request and offered to turn bin Laden over to Saudi Arabia in 1996, but his native country declined, afraid a trial would destabilize the country.

Back on familiar terrain in Afghanistan -- allowed in by the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani -- bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network prepared for the holy war that turned him into Washington's No. 1 enemy.

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

When the Taliban -- who would eventually give him refuge -- first took control of Kabul in September 1996, bin Laden and his Arab followers kept a low profile, uncertain of their welcome under the new regime. The Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar called bin Laden to southern Kandahar from his headquarters in Tora Bora and eventually through large and continual financial contributions to the isolated Taliban, bin Laden became dependent on the religious militia for his survival.

In Afghanistan, he would wake before dawn for prayers, then eat a simple breakfast of cheese and bread. He closely monitored world affairs. Almost daily, he and his men -- Egyptians, Yemenis, Saudis, among others -- practiced attacks, hurling explosives at targets and shooting at imaginary enemies.

He also went horseback riding, his favorite hobby, and enjoyed playing traditional healer, often prescribing honey, his favorite food, and herbs to treat colds and other illnesses. In Afghanistan, bin Laden was often accompanied by his four wives -- the maximum Islam allows. Estimates on the number of his children range up to 23.

Al-Qaeda's first major strike after bin Laden returned to Afghanistan was on Aug. 7, 1998, when twin explosions rocked US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Most of the victims were African passers-by, but the bombings also killed 12 Americans.

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

Days later, bin Laden escaped a cruise missile strike on one of his training camps in Afghanistan launched by the United States in retaliation. Bin Laden is believed to have been at the Zhawar Kili Al-Badr camp for a meeting with several of his top men, but left shortly before some 70 Tomahawk cruise missiles slammed into the dusty complex.

Since Sept. 11, bin Laden stayed a step ahead of the dragnet -- perhaps the largest in history for a single individual.

As the Taliban quickly fell under pressure of the U.S. bombardment, bin Laden fled into the inhospitable mountains in the seam that separates Pakistan and Afghanistan, keeping up a spotty stream of chatter -- first in video tapes and then in scratchy audio recordings -- to warn his Western pursuers of more bloodshed.

Just hours after the U.S. assault on Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, 2001, bin Laden appeared in a video delivered to Al-Jazeera, an Arab satellite television station, to issue a threat to America. "I swear by God ... neither America nor the people who live in it will dream of security before we live it in Palestine, and not before all the infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad, peace be upon him,'' said bin Laden, dressed in fatigues.

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

He reappeared in a video appearance broadcast by Al-Jazeera on Dec. 27, 2001, shortly after U.S. forces apparently had him cornered in Tora Bora, a giant cave complex in eastern Afghanistan. Hundreds of al-Qaida suspects are believed to have escaped the massive U.S. bombing campaign there, and bin Laden is believed to have been among them.

During the past decade, bin Laden and deputy Ayman al-Zawahri have appeared regularly in audio and video tapes to issue threats, and comment on a wide range of current events, although the appearances trailed off in recent years.

In November 2002, bin Laden threatened Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and Australia for their support for the United States, saying "It is time we get even. You will be killed just as you kill, and will be bombed just as you bomb.'' Later, he called on Muslims to rise up against leaders in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait he saw as Washington's stooges.

In 2004, he tried a new tack, offering a 'truce' to European countries that don't attack Muslims, then later saying that the United States could avoid another Sept. 11 attack if it stopped threatening the security of Muslims.

Bin Laden: A life of fanaticism and terror

After a long silence, bin Laden stepped up his messages in 2006, and the subjects he addressed became more political. In January 2006, he addressed his comments to the American people rather than U.S. President George W. Bush because, he said, polls showed ``an overwhelming majority'' of Americans wanted a withdrawal from Iraq. He even recommended Americans pick up a copy of the book ``The Rogue State,'' which he said offered a path to peace.

At several points in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks, bin Laden's capture or death had appeared imminent. After the March 2003 arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, officials in Islamabad and Washington were paraded out to deny a consistent stream of rumors that bin Laden had been captured.

U.S. forces poured into the border region looking for him and former Taliban and Taliban in hiding said bin Laden had constantly been on the move, traveling through the mountains with a small entourage of security.

Through it all, bin Laden vowed repeatedly that he was willing to die in his fight to drive the Israelis from Jerusalem and Americans from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

"America can't get me alive", bin Laden was quoted as saying in an interview with a Pakistani journalist conducted shortly after the US invasion of Afghanistan. "I can be eliminated, but not my mission."