World reacts to killing of Osama Bin Laden

May 2, 2011

By Associated Press & City Room

Muslims around the world are reacting Monday to the news that a U.S. special forces operation killed Osama bin Laden on Sunday at his secret compound in Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia says it hopes the killing of militant leader and former Saudi citizen Osama bin Laden will boost efforts to fight terrorism. The Saudi Press Agency carried an official statement Monday expressing hope that bin Laden's death with be a "step that supports the international efforts against terrorism." It added that the Saudi people in particular were targeted by "this terrorist organization," referring to bin Laden's al-Qaida, which once had an active branch in the desert kingdom. 

A scion of a prominent Saudi family, bin Laden was stripped of his citizenship after he criticized the royal family's reliance on U.S. troops to protect it after the Iraqi invasion of neighboring
Kuwait.

Kenyans are gathering at the site of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in downtown Nairobi to remember those killed in the al-Qaida attack. 

Following the death of Osama bin Laden, survivors of the terror attack in Kenya called Monday a day to remember those who had suffered.  Douglas Sidialo, who lost his eyesight in the blast, called it a day of great honor to survivors and victims of terrorism. Al-Qaida was blamed for the simultaneous 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks that together killed 225 people.

Ahlam Jbara, the associate director of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, expressed relief and joy upon hearing the news. "This is a time for us to realy stand up and say justice did prevail," she told WBEZ's Jason Marck on Eight Forty-Eight. 

Jbara praised President Barack Obama's remarks and expressed hope that bin Laden's death will mark a turning point for attitudes toward Muslim Americans in the United States.  "This is hope for a new beginning for us to stand together as one America," she said.  "We hope that the hatemongering will not find a place in this new era."

Meanwhile, members of Somalia's militant group al-Shabab have threatened revenge attacks for bin Laden's death. 

The leader of the Palestinian militant Hamas government in Gaza also has condemned the United States for killing al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh says the operation is "the continuation of the American oppression and shedding of blood of Muslims and Arabs."

Haniyeh told reporters in Gaza on Monday that although Hamas had its differences with al-Qaida, his group condemns the assassination of "a Muslim and Arabic warrior" and prays that bin Laden's "soul rests in peace."

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative organization with links around the Islamic world, also has condemned the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces as an "assassination."

Speaking from the White House in a late night address on Sunday, President Barack Obama said a small team of Americans launched a targeted operation that he approved. He said no Americans or civilians were killed.

Bin Laden's body was retrieved after a brief firefight. Officials said one key to the operation was a trusted Osama bin Laden courier they thought might be living with the al-Qaida mastermind. In November, intelligence officials found out where the courier was living, a huge fortified compound in Pakistan, not far from Islamabad.

Intelligence officials believed the $1 million home was custom-built to harbor a major terrorist and eventually concluded it must be bin Laden. The White House says President Barack Obama convened at least nine meetings with top national security officials in the lead-up to the raid.

Officials say the final operation was so secret that no foreign officials were informed and only a small circle in Washington was aware of it.

The president said the operation marks the most significant achievement so far against al-Qaida. But Obama said the U.S. must and will remain vigilant at home and aboard.

A U.S. official said Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea. After bin Laden was killed, senior administration officials said the body would be handled according to Islamic practice and tradition. That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official said.

Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, the official said. So the U.S. decided to bury him at sea. The official, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity to
discuss sensitive national security matters, did not immediately say where that occurred.