Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire for saying it was a “tragedy” that Osama bin Laden was killed by the United States rather than being put on trial.
The Labour leadership frontrunner made the remarks shortly after the 2012 special forces raid on the al Qaeda chief’s Pakistan compound in which he and four others were shot dead.
In an interview for Iranian television, he suggested the assassination of the September 11 attacks’ mastermind would result in deeper unrest.
It is the latest in a series of past comments and associations that the veteran left-winger has been forced to defend since emerging as the surprise favourite to succeed Ed Miliband.
In a clip from the Press TV show The Agenda, Corbyn is heard complaining that there had been “no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him and put him on trial, to go through that process”.
He went on: “This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy.
“The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died. Torture has come back onto the world stage, been canonised virtually into law by Guantanamo and Bagram.
“Can’t we learn some lessons from this? Are we just going to sink deeper and deeper?
“The next stage will be an attempted assassination on Gaddafi and so it will go on. This will just make the world more dangerous and worse and worse and worse.”
A spokesman for Corbyn said he was “a total opponent of al Qaeda, all it stands for”.
But Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said Corbyn was “utterly wrong”.
“Bin Laden’s death was not a tragedy. The tragedy was the 2,977 who died during that awful day. We remember them,” he said.
It came as George Osborne claimed a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn would pose a threat to national security by threatening the future of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
The chancellor of the exchequer said “an unholy alliance of Labour’s left-wing insurgents and the Scottish nationalists” would shatter decades of near-unbroken Westminster consensus in favour of maintaining a capability.
Both Corbyn and the SNP are opposed to the renewal of the Trident missile system being pursued by the Conservative government.
Osborne said that would be “disastrous”.
Amid suggestions that Conservatives were delighted at Corbyn’s surprise emergence as the favourite to lead the party, Osborne insisted the contest must not be seen as a “a bit of a joke”.
“On the contrary, I think we should take it deadly seriously,” he wrote in The Sun.
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