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The world holds its breath after Osama bin Laden is killed

There is heightened security around the world following the death of the world’s most wanted man...

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

There is heightened security around the world following the death of the world's most wanted man Osama bin Laden.

The 56-year-old leader of Al Qaeda was shot dead in the early hours of Monday morning when United States navy seals stormed a million dollar compound in Pakistan.

It put an end to a 10 year search for the man who masterminded the September 11 terror attacks in America and the attack on the London transport infrastructure in 2007.

US President Barack Obama made the announcement early on Monday morning.

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

The US embassy in Pretoria said a travel alert was issued to all Americans, including those in South Africa.

"This was not an alert that was targeted to South Africa and targeted to Americans living or travelling in any particular country but more just a broad-based alert," said the embassy's Elizabeth Trudeau.

SOUTH AFRICAN REACTION TO BIN LADEN'S DEATH

In South Africa, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said South Africa must remain vigilant in the wake of Bin Laden's death. The institute's terrorism expert Anneli Botha said the country is part of a global community and is affected by events of this magnitude.

But, she said there is no indication of any urgent threat.

"South Africa is considered to be an area often beyond the immediate threat of terrorism in the near future when it comes to Al Qaeda and its reach. I would rather say countries in northern Africa especially in eastern Africa as well are probably more of a concern," said Botha.

She said while the US and Europe are at greater risk, local authorities should watch US consulates and embassies as well other high-risk areas.

On the political front, the International Relations and Cooperation Department has called for an end to what it has labelled the demon of terrorism.

"We will continue to asses the situation as it develops and continue to be opposed to all terrorism activities," said the department's Clayson Monyela.

The ANC has also weighed in on Bin Laden's killing saying it believes the world's problems should be resolved peacefully and not through violence.

"We hope that his death will greatly contribute towards a peaceful transition in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Countries that have seen high levels of conflict," said Brian Sokutu.

REACTION FROM AFRICA

Nigerian security experts and businessmen say the continent's most populous country is divided between people who saw the Al Qaeda leader as a hero or villain.

Al Qaeda's deadliest operation apart from the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington was the bombings of United States embassies in Nairobi and Dar Se Salaam.

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki called Bin Laden's slaying an act of justice. But Kenya has tightened border security with Somalia after threats of revenge from Al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabab in Mogadishu.

Uganda's government spokesman Fred Opolot said killing Bin Laden was a momentous event and that Uganda would continue to fight Al Shabab, which killed 76 people in twin bombs in Kampala last year.

Morocco, which blames Al Qaeda for the bombing in Marrakech last week, said the whole world suffered from Bin Laden inspired terrorism.

Meanwhile, there has been controversy around the United State's decision to bury Bin Laden in the sea.

While the White House maintains that it consulted with necessary experts and that the burial was consistent with Islamic law, the Muslim community in South Africa has strongly disputed that.

The Johannesburg based Council of Muslim Theologians said the disposal of the body at sea is in contravention of Islamic law saying the Koran states the remains of the dead should only be buried.

US officials confirmed on Monday that they had to dispose of Bin Laden's remains at sea to avoid a shrine being created in his honour.

It has emerged that post 9/11, detainees at Guantanamo Bay gave investigators a glimpse into the Al Qaeda chief's inner circle. They repeatedly mentioned the nickname of a man they said was one of the few couriers Bin Laden trusted.

The man was seen on a street in Pakistan and then finally at the compound giving US intelligence officials critical clues to Bin Laden's whereabouts.

Not everyone is celebrating Bin Laden's death. Hamas has hailed the Al Qaeda leader as an Arab holy warrior while the Pakistan Taliban threatened to attack Pakistani and US officials.