Huge boost for Obama as Bin Laden is killed
Crowds cheer outside White House as President Obama makes late-night address
The announcement of the capture of the world's most wanted terrorist, his dead body now in the possession of American special forces, came in one of the most dramatic presidential addresses to the nation ever to come from the White House. It represents a huge political coup for President Obama. It will bring some sort of closure for the families of the dead who have had to wait since September 2001 for justice. It has boosted the value of the dollar in a matter of hours. And it will inevitably bring reprisals from those who saw Osama not as a terrorist but a good jihadist.HOW OSAMA WAS TAKEN
A US special forces team using helicopters raided the compound in Abbottabad, a hill-station just north of Islamabad. The operation took only 40 minutes and no American personnel were hurt, despite one helicopter crashing.
Osama's militia put up a fight but they stood little chance. Three others were killed, including one of his sons and a woman who was reportedly used as a shield. Importantly, the terrorist leader's body is in US hands.
The base had been under observation by US intelligence ever since it was learned the high-walled compound had no internet and no phone connections to the outside world.
THE PAKISTAN CONNECTIONIt was still being debated this morning whether the Americans worked with the Pakistanis on the raid, or simply went in and told local authorities afterwards.The fact that Osama was found to be living in a compound close by the military academy in Abottabad, not deep in the tribal areas as had generally been assumed, only adds fuel to the perception that some sectors of the Pakistan military and its intelligence service have turned a blind eye to al-Qaeda.Bin Laden is not the first top terrorist to be found living "deep inside Pakistan". Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Kuwaiti-born senior al-Qaeda leader, was captured in Rawalpindi while Afghan Taliban commander Mullah Baradar was captured in Karachi.THE RISK OF REPRISALS
Former CIA man Bob Baer, talking on the BBC Today programme this morning, was one of the first to warn that some sort of reprisals are inevitable given Osama bin Laden's status among jihadists worldwide. However, he doubted it would be anything like the scale of 9/11.
US embassies around the world are now on alert for reprisal attacks.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE BODY?
The United States now faces the tricky issue of how to dispose of Osama bin Laden's body. The authorities need to show the world that he is dead, to prevent conspiracy theories that he never died, so we can expect an official photograph shortly.
US officials have already promised to bury him in accordance with Islamic tradition, which would normally mean within 24 hours.
The question of where to bury him is awkward: no country will want to host a grave that could become a point of pilgrimage for radical Islamists. It has been mooted that he could be buried at sea to avoid that happening. ·
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