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Mosque bombed in Pakistan as Taliban vows revenge

There has been a bomb blast at a mosque in North West Pakistan on Monday, just hours after United States...

Barack Obama announced that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Picture: AFP

There has been a bomb blast at a mosque in North West Pakistan on Monday, just hours after United States (US) covert forces killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

It is not yet clear if anyone was killed or injured in the blast.

Bin Laden was shot dead in a night-time helicopter raid by US forces, ending a decade-long manhunt for the mastermind of the September 11 2001 attacks.

US President Barack Obama told his country that justice was finally done.

“I can report to the American people and to the world, the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda,” he said.

TALIBAN THREATS

The Taliban on Monday threatened attacks against the United States and Pakistani leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari, following the death of bin Laden.

A Taliban spokesperson told Reuters the Pakistani government will be first on their hit-list followed by America.

However, the Associated Press’ (AP) Mohammed Fayez said everything appears to be cool and calm in Pakistan.

“The routine life is going on, markets have opened and everything is okay. But there was an important meeting at the president’s house which was also attended by the prime minister and government officials,” said Fayez.

THE DEATH OF BIN LADEN

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said the operation that led to the death of Bin Laden was planned well in advance with the involvement of the Obama administration.

Bin Laden was found in a luxury compound, 100 kilometres north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. He was considered the world’s most wanted after he masterminded the deadly terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001.

The CIA’s Gary Berntsen said, “The president deserves great credit for going through with this.”

But, he said more people were still being trained in camps in Pakistan.

“Most people do not realise the complexity of Pakistan,” added Berntsen. “[There are] 175 million people in Pakistan [and] 24 different militant groups. Over 900,000 people [are] trained in terrorist camps, this is a very tough place and every time Pakistani authorities said Osama was in Afghanistan, it was laughable.”

CELEBRATIONS

Millions of Americans celebrated the death of Bin Laden on Monday. He was shot dead in a night-time helicopter raid by US forces, ending a decade-long manhunt for the mastermind of the September 11 2001 attacks.

Families and friends of the 911 victims joined thousands of others in massive celebrations outside the White House in Washington DC, at Times Square and Ground Zero in New York.

Journalist Diana Neille in New York said the celebrations continued overnight.

“You could really hear celebrations on the streets, people honking horns [and] screaming out on the streets,” she said. “Within literally half an hour Times Square and Ground Zero was just flooded with people. Everyone with their American flags, a lot of joy, a lot of happiness about it and it just escalated throughout the evening," she said.

REACTION

While countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan have welcomed the killing, Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has condemned the US-led raid. It has called Bin Laden an Arab "holy warrior".

Hamas in the Gaza strip said it regards this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.

Meanwhile, the world’s most powerful nations have praised America for killing Bin Laden but have warned of an increased threat of terrorist attacks in coming months.

Germany, Russia, France and England have all described the death as a victory while the European Union said the world is now a safer place.

The man who launched the Afghanistan war in 2001, former US President George W Bush said the killing sends a clear message that no matter how long it takes justice will be done.

The South African government is calling on countries across the world to work together to combat the "demon of terrorism".

The families of those who died on board Flight 93 have also released a statement saying Bin Laden’s death is important news for American and the world. The families say it cannot ease their pain or bring back their loved ones but it is comforting to know that bin laden can no longer spread his evil.

At the same time, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has added it is voice to reaction pouring in from across the globe.

The Brotherhood said Bin Laden does not represent Islam. The organisation has also called on America to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.