Al-Qa'ida vows revenge as it confirms death

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The Independent Online

The al-Qa'ida network confirmed the death of Osama bin Laden yesterday and served notice that it will take revenge on the United States and its allies and carry forward its Jihadist campaign of terror.

A text dated 3 May from the "general leadership" of the group said the "blood of the holy warrior sheik, Osama bin Laden, God bless him, is precious to us and to all Muslims and will not go in vain". It added: "We will remain, God willing, a curse chasing the Americans and their agents, following them outside and inside their countries."

As much a warning to Washington, the statement was meant also to galvanise followers to rise up, including in Pakistan where he was found and killed. It may be helpful to the US to the extent that it obviates the need to publish the pictures of the dead Bin Laden to quell conspiracy theorists claiming he is still alive.

As the killing of the perpetrator of 9/11 and other atrocities continued to reverberate around the globe, US officials said that a first analysis of intelligence data seized from his lair showed that far from being just a figurehead for al-Qa'ida, Bin Laden (pictured) had been involved in hatching new plots against the US, including one to target trains possibly on the 10th anniversary of the Twin Towers attack this September.

Western intelligence officials said yesterday that they are seeing increased internet and phone chatter about cheap, small-scale terror attacks to avenge the death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. The plans apparently include pipe bombs, targeted car crashes and lone gunmen.

About 100 protesters gathered outside the US Embassy in London yesterday shouting: "USA, you will pay!" and warning of such revenge attacks.

European security officials say there is no specific plot to justify raising the threat level. But one of their biggest fears is the possibility of a Mumbai-style attack like the 2008 shooting spree that killed 166 people and paralyzed India's business capital for days.

Cleric Anjem Choudary, who helped organise the demonstration outside the US Embassy, said revenge attacks in Britain and abroad were likely because of Bin Laden's importance to al-Qa'ida and its affiliates.

"I think Britain is more likely to face a 7/7 today than ever," he said in reference to the London suicide bombings that took place on 7 July, 2005. "Osama bin Laden was a high-profile leader. If the Americans talk of justice, they shouldn't have killed him."

The US yesterday carried out its first drone attack in Pakistan since Osama bin Laden's death, killing at least 15 people in a hail of missiles near the Afghan border, Pakistani intelligence said.