CITIES across the Western world are on high alert this morning as fears mount that extremists are preparing to exact bloody revenge for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Political leaders have come out in force to welcome the death of the man many believe ordered the attacks on New York and Washington and the hijacking of the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 — as well as a number of other deadly bombings across the globe.
However, while extremist leaders mourned bin Laden’s death, they warned that there were many more ready to take his place and said they would have their revenge.
“Oh Americans... it is still legal for us to cut your necks,” warned one message on an Arabic language forum.
As scenes of celebrations at Ground Zero were broadcast around the world, Abu Aziza on the Islamic Awakening forum wrote: “Please let them celebrate, they are celebrating their own end. Oh Allah, destroy this nation for their hatred and enmity toward your deen [religion].”
US officials revealed that a team of its Navy Seals shot bin Laden in the side of the head during a fierce firefight at the sophisticated complex where he had been hiding out in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad.
In all, 79 commandos and a dog were involved in the raid. One of two helicopters that flew them into the compound crashed after being hit by grenades fired by guards on the roof of bin Laden’s compound. The team called in one of two backups.
The officials told how three adult males, including the world’s most wanted man’s adult son Khalid, were killed.
One of his wives was, they claimed, used as a human shield by bin Laden. She too was killed.
Details were also given of how his body was retrieved by the Navy Seals, brought onto a Black Hawk helicopter and flown to the USS Carl Vinson which then dropped it into the North Arabian Sea in a secret location to prevent the grave from becoming a shrine for extremists.
However, while the officials said DNA tests carried out on the remains confirmed “virtually 100%” that the remains were the 54-year-old al-Qaida leader, at the time of going to press the world still awaited tangible proof that he was actually dead.
Last night two Pentagon officials were quoted as saying the at-sea burial of Osama bin Laden was videotaped and that it probably would be released “soon”.
The officials were also quoted as saying photos of the body prior to its disposal in the sea also may be released. It is understood those photographs are easily recognisable as bin Laden.
However John Brennan, the White House counter- terrorism chief, told reporters that the administration was still deliberating on the release of the material.
During a media briefing, Mr Brennan also said it was “inconceivable” that bin Laden did not have some support in Pakistan.
The fortified compound where he was killed in the firefight is only two hours outside the capital of Islamabad and a very short distance from a Pakistani military training base.
Mr Brennan said the White House would pursue all leads to find out what type of support system or benefactors bin Laden might have had.
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