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Archive for May, 2011

India lists 50 most-wanted fugitives hiding in Pakistan

Posted by :) on May 11, 2011

Source : Press Trust of India

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New Delhi:  Turning more heat on Pakistan, India today released a list of 50 “most-wanted fugitives” hiding in that country. The list includes underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, 26/11 mastermind and LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and dreaded terrorist Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi and has been given to the Pakistan government, which has continuously denied that terrorists and criminals that India wants are hiding there.

Hafiz Saeed, who is involved in Mumbai terror attack and various other attacks in India, tops the list which also includes Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, the main accused in the 2001 Parliament attack case. He was released in exchange of hostages in the Khandhar hijack episode in 1999.

The government’s action comes in the midst of acute discomfort for Pakistan which has been tying itself in knots over the charge of sheltering al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a unilateral US Special Forces action in Abbottabad on May 2.

The list includes names of al Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, who is accused of transnational crime and conspiracy to commit various terrorist acts in India, close associates of Dawood Ibrahim, Memon Ibrahim alias Tiger Memon, Shaikh Shakeel alias Chhota Shakeel, Memon Ayub Abdul Razak, Anis Ibrahim Kaskar Shaikh, Anwar Ahmed Haji Jamal and Mohammed Ahmed Dosa, all involved in the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai.

Hizbul Mujahideen chief Sayeed Salauddin, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front founder Amanullah Khan, Punjab terrorists Lakhbir Singh, Paramjit Singh Panjwar, Ranjit Singh alias Neeta and Wadhawa Singh were also named as most-wanted fugitives.

Names of Mumbai terror attack case accused Sajid Majid, Major Iqbal, Major Sameer Ali, Sayed Abdul Rehman alias Pasha and Abu Hamza were also included in the list of fugitives.

Here’s the full list:
Mohd Hafiz Saeed;
Sajid Majid;
Syed Abdur Rehman;
Major Iqbal;
Ilyas Kashmiri;
Rashid Abdullah;
Major Sameer Ali;
Dawood Ibrahim
Memon Ibrahim;
Shaikh Shakeel;
Memon Ayub;
Anis Ibrahim Kaskar Shaikh;
Anwar Ahmed;
Munaf Abdul;
Mohd Tainur;
Mohd Ahmed Dosa;
Javed Patel;
Slaim Abdul;
Riyaz Abu Bakar Khatri;
Khan Bashir;
Yakub Khan;
Mohd Shafi;
Irfan Ahmed Feroz Abdul,
Ishaq Atta,
Sagir Sabir Ali,
Aftab Batki,
Maulana Mohd,
Mohd Yusuf Shah,
Cheema QAzam,
Syed Zabuiddin,
Ibrahim Athar,
Azhar Yusuf,
Mistri Zahur,
Sayeed Shahid,
Shakir Mohd,
Abdul Rauf,
Aminullah Khan,
Suffiah Mufti,
Nachan Akmal,
Khan Wazhul,
Yakub Khan Channeparambil Mohd,
Lakhbir Singh,
Paramjit Singh,
Ranjit Singh,
Wadhawa Singh,
Aabdu Hamza,
Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi,
Amir Reza Khan

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Top 10 FBI Most Wanted Terrorists

Posted by :) on May 3, 2011

After Osama Bin Laden’s death, MensXP tells you about the ten of the most wanted terrorists whose names feature in the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List.

Source :  

Mensxp – Monday 2 May 2011 3:25 PM IST

The United States has finally inflicted a solid wound to their numero uno enemy, the Al-Qaeda. In a night-raid carried out at a location barely a few kilometers away from the Pakistani capital Islamabad, Osama bin Laden was killed in a dramatic CIA-led operation which involved extensive use of helicopters and ground troops.

The most dreaded terrorist in the world until now, Bin Laden gained attention in September of 2001, when the attacks on the United States left as many as 3,000 people dead and several hundred injured. It was only a matter of time and the man had become one of the most hated and feared men in the world.

After Bin Laden’s death, US President Obama told the world “Justice has been done”.

However, even after Osama’s death, terrorism continues to remain a major threat to the people across the globe. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) rolled out a list of most wanted terrorists in late 2001 which has been constantly updated since then. Here’s a brief description of ten of most wanted terrorists out of that list which features at least 30 names.

The list also contains the name of Osama Bin Laden, who is now dead.

Usama Bin Laden

Apart from the 9/11 attacks, the Saudi-born dissident was also wanted in connection with August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The Al-Qaeda leader was also a suspect in various other terror attacks throughout the world.

Bin Laden was a southpaw who walked with a cane. After 9/11 attacks the United States launched several operations to track the man. But they were not to taste success until 10 years. He had a reward of about $27 million dollars on his head and operated under eight alias names.

Adam Yahiye Gadhan

Born as Adam Pearlman in California, US, he converted to Islam in his teens. He is reported to be the cultural interpreter, spokesperson, and media advisor for the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. He has been indicted of treason and material support to Al-Qaeda and is said to be involved in numerous terrorist activities.

Gadahn has scars on his chest and right forearm and operates under eight aliases. The Rewards for Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to a million dollars for information leading to the arrest of Gadahn.

Daniel Andreas San Diego

He is wanted for his alleged involvement in the bombing of two office buildings in San Francisco. A vegan, he is known to be linked to animal rights extremist groups. The man wears glasses, is adept at sailing and is always expected to be armed.

He is reported to have at least three tattoos on his bodies. He has three alias names as well. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading directly to the arrest of San Diego.

Ayman Al-Zawahiri

Currently the leader of Al-Qaeda, he is reportedly a qualified surgeon who has a deep and radical understanding of Islamic theology and Islamic history. Al-Zawahiri has been indicted for his alleged role in the August 7, 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), the group he founded merged with Al-Qaeda in 1998 under his leadership.

Operating under 12 alias names, Al-Zawahiri can speak Arabic, English and French. The Rewards for Justice Program, United States Department of State, has offered a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or the conviction of Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Al-Quso

The man is wanted by the FBI, the Interpol and the US Department of State. He has been indicted in the Southern District of New York for his role in the October 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen in which 17 Americal sailors lost their lives.

Al-Quso is believed to be hiding in the mountains of Yemen. He operates under nine aliases. The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction, in any country, of Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Al-Quso.

Husayn Muhammad Al-Umari

He has been indicted for his alleged role in the August 11, 1982 bombing of Pan Am Flight 830, while it was en route from Japan to Hawaii. A mechanic and explosives expert, he formed an organisation in 1979 whose mission was to promote the Palestinian cause through violence towards the supporters of Israel.

A holder of Lebanese passport, Al-Umari has three alias names. He has a scar on the fingers of his right and one on his left hand in the web between the thumb and the index finger. A reward of up to $5 million is being offered by United States Department of State for information about Al-Umari.

Anas Al-Liby

Born in Tripoli, Libya, Al-Liby is under indictment in the United States for his part in the 1998 United States embassy bombings. He has worked as a computer specialist for Al-Qaeda. He recently lived in the United Kingdom where he was granted political asylum.

Al-Liby has a scar on the left side of his face and operates under at least four alias names. The reward on him offered by the United States Department of State is about $5 million.

Wadoud Muhammad Hafiz Al-Turki

Born in Iraq, Al-Turki faced indictment for his alleged role in September 5, 1986 hijacking of Pan American World Airways Flight 73 during a stop in Karachi, Pakistan. 20 passengers and crew members were killed in the attack.

The man is a heavy smoker and is believed to be residing in a Middle Eastern country. He has five alias names and there is a reward of up to $5 million on offer for information related to him.

Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Mughassil

This man is wanted by the United States government for his alleged involvement in the June 25, 1996 attack on Khobar Towers military housing complex near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The attacks claimed the life of 19 US Air Force personnels and one local.

Al-Mughassil has been identified as the head of military wing of the Pro-Iran Saudi Hizbullah. He has just one alias name and the US Department of State has offered a reward of up to $5 million dollars for him.

Abdul Rehman Yasin

Born in Bloomington, Indiana, US, Yasin is of Iraqi heritage. He is wanted for his alleged participation in the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Centre, New York City in February of 1993. The bombing led to six deaths, wounding of several individuals, and intense damage to property. He is believed to be held as a prisoner in Iraq since 1994.

FBI reports that Yasin epileptic. He is believed to have a chemical burn scar on his right thigh and operates under at least four alias names. The US Department of State has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Yasin. (MensXP.com)

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Brace for more turbulence in Pakistan

Posted by :) on May 2, 2011

SOURCE : By Badar Alam | DAWN.COM

This illustration taken on May 2, 2011 in Kaufbeuren, southern Germany, shows the websites of different newspapers reporting on the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He was killed on May 1, 2011 in a daring raid by US forces in Pakistan, triggering celebrations across the United States as President Barack Obama declared “justice has been done.” – AFP Photo

With Osama bin Laden dead, Pakistan will have three major worries to contend with. Though these relate to three different aspects of Pakistan’s state policies, they all emanate from the same source: Pakistan’s troubled relationship with Islamic terrorist organisations and their targets – that is, the United States, Europe and India.

These aspects pertain to Pakistan’s internal image as a member of the international community, the country’s internal image in the eyes of its own people and the increasing or diminishing threat of terrorist attacks in the coming days and months.

Not that Pakistan has a great international image to speak of. But whatever trust or goodwill the country has been trying to build, vis-à-vis Aghanistan, India and the United States, in the recent past has suffered a serious blow.

For years Pakistan has denied that bin Laden was in Pakistan. Now with irrefutable evidence of his death taking place in Abbottabad, Islamabad has had the egg on its face. It will be difficult in the months and years to come to live in the same denial mode that Pakistan has been trying to live in even in the face of mounting international evidence and pressure that the main leaders of both al- Qaeda and Taliban are living and operating from its territory and that the country must do something to get rid of them.

Now that the evidence is there that they are/were/have been living in Pakistan, hence international pressure is bound to increase even more. How Pakistan chooses to deal with such a situation will determine whether Pakistan gains some of its lost image or continues to have its reputation tarnished further.

Secondly, the fact that the most wanted international terrorist, and a sworn enemy of Pakistan’s state and government, has been residing within a stone’s throw from the country’s military academy is something that will continue to disturb and upset many in the country.

How could the intelligence agencies not know about him? Why have the military and the government been so un-informed about the presence of potentially the most dangerous man on the earth residing within the vicinity of perhaps one of Pakistan’s most sensitive military sites?

Expect talk shows, newspaper columns and blogospehere to be flooded with questions likes this in the next few days and weeks. The questions are important, indeed. How can a foreigner without any travel documents – valid or otherwise — live along with his wife, children and armed guards in highly sensitive and supposedly high security areas? Why did the Pakistani government and the military never find out that the world’s most wanted man was living right under their noses without any lawful authority? Was the Pakistan army chief addressing a military passing out parade only a few days ago only a few kilometers from where bin Laden was? How dangerous such a situation was?

The flip side of this debate is already making itself felt on the television channels. This pertains to questions about Pakistan’s sovereignty. How on earth could an American military operation take place in the heart of the country – in fact, a short distance from its military academy? What about the breach of Pakistan’s airspace and the sanctity of its national boundaries if the American attackers came from Afghanistan?

If, however, they were already in, why could Pakistan not have a tab on their movement within its own territory? Did the government in Islamabad know about the get-Osama operation? Did the military and the intelligence know about it? If yes, how much did they know and what was their role in the operation? If no, why not? These questions will be asked by political leaders, mainly from the right of the political spectrum, as well as very vocal media and intelligentsia.

Lastly, post-bin Laden, terrorism may enter a new, even more uncertain, phase in Pakistan. There may be an immediate ‘reaction’ from bin Laden’s supporters among the Pakistani Taliban as well as other religious and sectarian militant groups in the shape of suicide bombings and other attacks against the symbols of state, security and government in Pakistan as well as against civilian targets in the urban areas.

More alarmingly, there may emerge some new individuals and groups – so far unknown – who may take up bin Laden’s cause and increase terrorist activity in Pakistan in particular and across the globe in general. After all, this is what we witnessed in the wake of military operation on Islamabad’s Lal Masjid in 2007 – an incident that raised the level of terrorist incident and their lethality to unprecedented levels, courtesy new groups of militants and terrorists either led by the masjid’s follower or inspired by the reports of perceived military brutalities there.

In this scenario, Pakistan must brace for more difficult, more uncertain and more turbulent times.

The writer is the editor of Herald magazine.

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Gotcha! OSAMA BY OBAMA means OSAMA=0 and OBAMA=1

Posted by :) on May 2, 2011

BY NADEEM F. PARACHA ON MAY 2ND, 2011 

Gotcha!The news the world had been waiting for ever since the United States declared war against Al-Qaeda in 2001 has finally arrived: Al Qaeda’s numero uno, the most wanted man in the world, Osama bin Laden has finally been killed.

According to reports coming in at the time of writing this piece, the wealthy Saudi turned Islamist terrorist died in an attack on his hideout just outside the quiet Pakistani city of Abbotabad.

The unprecedented operation was carried out by a team of US marines that had been monitoring Laden’s movements in the area for the last many weeks.

A lot more detail report is expected to come in, especially after US President, Barak Obama, went live on television to give the news to his people and the world at large.

As CNN and BBC were showing thousands of Americans gathering outside the White House, cheering the news, the sounds and sights coming from Pakistani channels are at best bizarre.

As news anchors shoot away reading the fast unfolding news, they seem unsure whether to describe Osama’s reported death as ‘wo marey ja chukey hein’ or ‘mara ja chukka hai’, – both mean ‘Osama has been killed’, but the first sentence uses words like ‘chukey hein’ that in Urdu and Hindi is used to give respect to someone older.

So, as Pakistani newscasters (especially on the ever-animated hyperbolic private channels), continue to zigzag between ‘chuka’ and ‘chukey,’ it was only a matter of time before we began seeing what is called the ghairatbrigade, or the pride brigade take their seats in front of the camera.

Pakistan’s private TV channels are brimming with the most gung-ho characters of this brigade – talk show hosts with an addiction for anything conspiratorial and rhetorical, and never far from using sheer jingoism to give weight to the shenanigans of the Pakistani right-wing, especially regarding the rightists’ blinding hatred for the US, the West, India and Pakistani politicians.

So until the writing of this piece, and merely an hour after the news about Osama’s death poured in, the usual suspects in this respect are up and running questioning the validity of the report.

The two star anchors of big media houses started behaving as if their jobs are now on the line since Osama is dead and America seems to have won at least this aspect of its war against al Qaeda. Then one after the other they started breaking with a photo which was published on the internet sometime in 2009.

The cynical display is quite pathetic, almost akin to the shock the loud mouthpieces of the agitated right-wing exhibited when Raymond Davis made a smooth exit from Pakistan, on the behest of Pakistan’s security agencies that, ironically, were alleged to have been propping up a number of media men and politicians such as Imran Khan to pump up anti-Americanism in Pakistan.

Respected journalists and analysts like Najam Sethi, Ayesha Siddiuqa, Hasan Askari and Farrukh Saleem are right to suggest that large sections of the country’s intelligence agencies are using certain media personnel and politicians to drown America’s concerns about Pakistan protecting certain al Qaeda members and those belonging to
militant Islamist outfits that America says the Pakistani establishment considers to be ‘friendly.’

Nevertheless, whereas the largely knee-jerk and quasi-reactionary narrative peddled in the name of ghairat in the media and from the mouths of some politicians and TV anchors is now sounding as empty as empty can be, the government and the military-establishment will have to think on its feet.

With Osama’s dramatic demise, the Pakistani establishment cannot hide anymore behind the padding its clumsy doings in the war against terrorists was being provided to them by sympathetic media men.

They have to answer one very simple question: In spite of the Americans claiming that Osama was hiding somewhere in Pakistan, why did the Pakistani military, who too has lost numerous soldiers in its war against al Qaeda and the Taliban, continued to deny it?

What’s more, in a frenzy to impress their masters in certain sections of Pakistan’s security apparatus, these media men and politicians were not even immune to unleash rhetoric that can leave Pakistan and its people not only isolated, but suffering from collective bouts of paranoia, delusion and xenophobia.

Whereas now it is becoming more than clear that Pakistani security agencies and the Pakistani government did have an inkling at least as to what the Americans were planning to do, instead of asking the question ‘what Osama was doing hiding in a compound situated in an area where there is sufficient presence of the Pakistan army and ISI,’ these TV men were quick to suggest that the man killed may not be Osama.

In fact, one of them confidently announced that according his sources (that’s a nice way of putting it), the man killed was not Osama. But lo and behold! Only an hour after curious claim came the report that the Americans have released the pictures of the dead body and face of Osama.

As I go on monitoring the media, the atrocious narrative questioning the validity of the news championed by these talk show hosts-turned-anchors-turned-presenters had fallen on its face and gradually replaced by a line that suggests that the Pakistan military (not the government) should also be given credit for this prize catch. That is when the race to publish the image started.

Perhaps the Pakistani security forces and institutions did play a role, but, again, with the emergence of the corpse of Osama in Pakistan, we should be asking, does this episode not validate almost all the other allegations and concerns that the US has exhibited regarding Pakistan’s rather shadowy and topsy-turvy war against terrorists?

We have to prove to the world that Pakistan is not a country that accommodates and hides mass murderers. But then, what to expect from a country some of whose politicians and media raise more hue and cry about US drone attacks (that have killed around 2,000 people, most of them militants), rather than about suicide attacks by Taliban/al-Qaeda that, ever since 2004, have slaughtered over 34,000 civilians, policemen and army personnel.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan, says Obama

Posted by :) on May 2, 2011

SOURCE :Reuters 

Osama bin Laden, Al QaedaSlain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. — Photo by AP

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with US forces in Pakistan on Sunday, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Justice has been done,” President Barack Obama declared in a hastily called, late-night White House speech announcing the death of the elusive head of the militant group behind a series of deadly bombings across the world.

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Bin Laden’s death is highly symbolic but it was unclear whether it would mark a turning point in the worldwide war against a highly fractured network of militants, or end any sooner the battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A source familiar with the US operation said bin Laden was shot in the head. His death was confirmed separately by officials in Pakistan.

Jubilant, flag-waving celebrations erupted in Washington and New York. It was the biggest national security victory for Obama since he took office in early 2009 and could give him a political boost as he seeks re-election in 2012.

Obama may now find it easier to wind down the nearly decade-old war in Afghanistan, begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000.

Pakistanis not told

But the operation could complicate relations with Pakistan already frayed over US drone strikes in the west of the country and the jailing of a CIA contractor accused of killing two Pakistani men.

A US official said Pakistani authorities were told the details of the raid after it had taken place.

Obama said US forces led a targeted operation that killed bin Laden in a compound in Abbotabad north of Islamabad. No Americans were killed in the operation and they took care to avoid civilian casualties, he said.

Bin Laden and three adult men, including a son of bin Laden were killed along with a woman who was used as a shield by a male combatant, officials said.

The operation took under 40 minutes. A US helicopter was lost due to a mechanical problem and its crew and assault force safely evacuated.

The operation was monitored in real-time by CIA Director Leon Panetta and other intelligence officials in a conference room at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, an official said.

Senior administration officials said they were finally led to bin Laden after more than four years tracking one of his trusted couriers, and the man’s brother, using intelligence obtained from detainees captured after Sept. 11.

They finally identified the men’s residence in August 2010, and quickly realized the $1 million; three-story property was far more than the home of two individuals with no discernible source of wealth.

Possible Reprisals

Authorities said Obama’s hideaway, built in 2005, was about eight times larger than other homes in the area, located when it was built at the end of a narrow dirt road. It had security features including 12- to 18-foot walls topped with barbed wire, internal walls for extra privacy, and access controlled through two security gates.

It had no telephone or Internet connection. Bin Laden’s death triggered a travel alert for Americans worldwide, the US State Department said, warning of the potential for anti-American violence.

Thousands of people gathered outside the White House, waving American flags, cheering and chanting “USA, USA, USA.”

Car drivers blew their horns in celebration and people streamed to Lafayette Park across from the street, as police vehicles with their lights flashing stood vigil.

“I’m down here to witness the history. My boyfriend is commissioning as a Marine next week. So I’m really proud of the troops,” Laura Vogler, a junior at American University in Washington, said outside the White House.

Similar celebrations erupted in New York’s Ground Zero, site of the World Trade Center twin towers felled by hijacked airplanes on Sept. 11.

A market perception that the death of bin Laden reduced the security risks facing the United States lifted the dollar from a three-year low and raised stock index futures.

US crude oil prices also fell. “Current oil prices are regarded by most analysts as carrying significant risk premium at current levels and good news on the geopolitical front has the potential to move prices back below $100,” said Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

However, some analysts said the market impact would be short lived.

Many Americans had given up hope of finding bin Laden after he vanished in the mountains of Afghanistan in late 2001.

Intelligence that originated last August provided the clues that eventually led to bin Laden’s trail, the president said. A US official said Obama gave the final order to pursue the operation last Friday morning.

“The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of men, women and children,” Obama said.

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Bin Laden operation conducted by US forces: Pakistan

Posted by :) on May 2, 2011

 SOURCE : AFP ,DAWN

Slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. — Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said Monday that US forces had conducted the operation that killed Osama bin Laden “in accordance with declared US policy”.

Islamabad said bin Laden was killed in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad early Monday in an “intelligence-driven operation”.

“This operation was conducted by the US forces in accordance with declared US policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the US forces, wherever found in the world,” the foreign ministry said.

US President Barack Obama had telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari earlier Monday over the “successful US operation”, it said.

The official statement went on to say that Pakistan has played a “significant role” in counter-terrorism efforts.

“We have had extremely effective intelligence sharing arrangements with several intelligence agencies including that of the US. We will continue to support international efforts against terrorism,” it said.

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A neighbour to Osama bin Laden?

Posted by :) on May 2, 2011

SOURCE : Reuters 

9/11, Al-Qaeda, barack obama, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan terrorism, us dronesSoldiers patrol the city of Abbotabad in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province May 2, 2011. -Photo by Reuters

ABBOTTABAD: Residents of the Pakistani town of Abbottabad were jolted from their sleep on Sunday night by the boom of explosions, unaware the hunt for the world’s most wanted man was coming to a bloody end in their sleepy hills.

Helicopter-borne US forces swooped on a compound on the edge of Abbottabad in the middle of the night and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was hiding there, nine and a half years after he masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks.

“We rushed to the rooftop and saw flames near that house. We also heard some gunshots,” said Mohammad Idrees, who lives about 400 metres from the compound.

“Soon after the blast, we saw military vehicles rushing to the site.”

Pakistani soldiers stopped reporters approaching the compound, which was surrounded by a fabric or canvas screen.

A helicopter covered by a tarpaulin sat in a nearby field, guarded by Pakistani soldiers. US officials earlier said a US helicopter was lost due to a mechanical problem during the operation but that its crew safely evacuated.

Bin Laden’s residence, called a mansion by US officials, stood fourth in a row of about a dozen houses. A satellite dish was perched on the roof of the house, which was surrounded by high walls.

Television pictures from inside the house showed blood stains smeared across a floor next to a bed.

Pakistani TV stations also showed a picture purportedly of bin Laden shot in the head, his mouth pulled back in a grimace.

Reuters pictures editors determined the image was a fake after discovering a number of inconsistencies in the picture.

Another resident, Nasir Khan, said commandos had encircled the compound as three helicopters hovered overhead.

“All of a sudden there was firing towards the helicopters from the ground,” said Khan, who watched the drama unfold from his roof.

“There was intense firing and then I saw one of the helicopters crash.”

US officials in Washington said a small US team conducted a helicopter raid on the compound in Abbottabad, a military garrison town some 60 km (35 miles) north of the capital Islamabad. After 40 minutes of fighting, bin Laden and an adult son, one unidentified woman and two men were dead.

ASTOUNDED NEIGHBOURS

US officials said security measures at the compound included outer walls up to 5.5 metres (18 feet) tall topped with barbed wire and internal walls that sectioned off different parts of the compound.

Residents said they were astounded to learn bin Laden had been in their midst. One neighbour said an old man had been living in the compound for the past 10 years.

“He never mixed much, he kept a low profile,” said the neighbour, Zahoor Ahmed.

“It’s hard to believe bin Laden was there. We never saw any extraordinary movements,” said another neighbour, Adress Ahmed.

Abbottabad has long been a cool, leafy retreat from the heat of the Pakistan plains.

It was founded by a British army officer, James Abbott, in the mid-nineteenth century as the British were pushing the bounds of their Indian empire into the northwestern hills inhabited by Pashtun tribes.

Today, the town is home to a Pakistani military academy and its surrounding hills are dotted with summer homes.

Sohaib Athar, whose online profile says he is an IT consultant taking a break from the rat race, sent out a stream of live updates on Twitter about the movement of helicopters and blasts without realising it was a raid on bin Laden.

When he learnt who had been killed, he tweeted: “Uh oh, there goes the neighbourhood.”
But it might take more to convince many people that bin Laden is dead.

One soldier on patrol near the compound said there had been talk before of bin Laden’s death, only for it to be proven untrue.

“It’s not clear if he was killed or not,” the soldier said.

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Americans gather joyfully to mark bin Laden death

Posted by :) on May 2, 2011

Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Revelers kiss near the White House after President Obama announced that U.S. authorities have recovered the dead body of Osama bin Laden, in the early morning hours, May 2, 2011. More photos »

SOURCE :      AP

NEW YORK – Joyous at the release of a decade’s frustration, Americans streamed to the site of the World Trade Center, the gates of the White House and smaller but no less jubilant gatherings across the nation to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden — cheering, waving flags and belting the national anthem.

Ground zero, more familiar these past 10 years for bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” and solemn speeches and arguments over what to build to honor the Sept. 11 dead, became, for the first time, a place of revelry.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this day,” Lisa Ramaci, a New Yorker whose husband was a freelance journalist killed in the Iraq war, said early Monday. “I think it’s a relief for New York tonight just in the sense that we had this 10 years of frustration just building and building, wanting this guy dead, and now he is, and you can see how happy people are.”

She was holding a flag and wearing a T-shirt depicting the twin towers and, in crosshairs, bin Laden. Nearby, a man held up a cardboard sign that read, “Obama 1, Osama 0.”

Dionne Layne, 44, of Stamford, Conn., spent the entire night at ground zero with her two children, ages 9 and 11. “They can’t get this in a history class,” she said. “They have to be a part of this.”

Layne said she witnessed the second tower come down on Sept. 11 from Brooklyn, where she lived at the time.

Uptown in Times Square, dozens stood together on a clear spring night and broke into applause when a New York Fire Department SUV drove by, flashed its lights and sounded its siren. A man held an American flag, and others sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

On an overcast morning in Shanksville, Pa., where a hijacked plane apparently meant for Washington crashed in a field after passengers fought back, a few visitors gathered Monday at the fence-lined overlook that serves as a temporary memorial while a permanent one is built.

“I thought of Sept. 11 and the people lost,” said Daniel Pyle, 33, of Shanksville, who stopped at the site on his way to work at a lawn care company. “I wanted to pay homage to the people lost that day. I think this brings a little bit of closure.”

In Washington, in front of the White House, a crowd began gathering before President Barack Obama addressed the nation late Sunday to declare, “Justice has been done.” The throng grew, and within a half-hour had filled the street in front of the White House and begun spilling into Lafayette Park.

“It’s not over, but it’s one battle that’s been won, and it’s a big one,” said Marlene English, who lives in Arlington, Va., and lobbies on defense issues. She said she has baked thousands of cookies to send to friends serving in Iraq and Afghanistan over the years and that she was at the White House because they couldn’t be.

The celebrations began to come together late Sunday, after Americans began hearing about the death of bin Laden from bulletins on television, texts and calls from family and friends, and posts on social networking sites.

Bin Laden was slain in his luxury hideout in Pakistan in a firefight with American forces. Obama said no Americans had been harmed in the operation.

Even before the president made the official announcement, news of bin Laden’s death filtered across the country. As the New York Mets played the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia, chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” began in the top of the ninth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Fans all over the stadium checked their phones and shared the news.

That chant — “U-S-A! U-S-A!” — echoed in Dearborn, Mich., a heavily Middle Eastern suburb of Detroit, where a small crowd gathered outside City Hall and waved American flags. Across town, some honked their car horns as they drove along the main street where most of the Arab-American restaurants and shops are located.

At the Arabica Cafe, big-screen TVs that normally show sports were all turned to news about bin Laden. The manager there, Mohamed Kobeissi, said it was finally justice for the victims.

There were smaller, spontaneous gatherings around the nation — a handful of Idahoans who made their way to the state Capitol in downtown Boise, a small group that waved flags and cheered on an Interstate 5 overpass south of Seattle known as Freedom Bridge.

People said they were surprised that bin Laden had finally been found and killed. John Gocio, a doctor from Arkansas who was gathering what details he could from TV screens at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, marveled: “After such a long time, you kind of give up and say, `Well, that’s never going to happen.'”

The celebration in New York came precisely one year after a militant from Connecticut spread panic by driving a bomb-laden SUV into the heart of Times Square. As the most intense manhunt in history wore on, year after year after 9/11, the city dealt with smaller scares — the Times Square plot, subway and bridge threats, orange alerts.

Over that same decade, the city has lived on with the pain from the day itself, more distant but never erased. Stephanie Zessos, who lives in the neighborhood and works for the fire department, said sadness also was mixed in with the late-night celebration.

“I texted a friend of mine who’s a firefighter who lost a brother on 9/11, and he said the pain will never go away,” she said.

After hearing of bin Laden’s death, Mike Low, of Batesville, Ark., sat down in his daughter’s bedroom in front of a glass case holding her remains and shared the news. The daughter, Sara, was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the World Trade Center.

He described his reaction as mixed — satisfaction for the loved ones left behind but continuing pain over his daughter’s death.

“This is something we struggle with and will the rest of our lives,” said Low, 67.

With final exams looming, thousands of Penn State University students gathered in State College, Pa., the student newspaper reported. One was dressed as Captain America, fireworks were set off and colorful chants rose up from the crowd. At Ohio State University, some students, including the student body president, jumped into a lake on campus to celebrate, according to The Lantern newspaper.

At the White House, Will Ditto, a 25-year-old legislative aide, said he was getting ready to go to bed when his mother called him with the news. He decided to leave his home on Capitol Hill and join the crowd. As he rode the subway to the White House, he told fellow passengers the news.

“It’s huge,” he said. “It’s a great day to be an American.”

American flags of all sizes were held aloft, worn draped over the shoulders or gripped by many hands for a group wave. Some people climbed trees and lampposts to better display the flags they carried. Others without flags simply pumped their fists in the air.

The impromptu street party took on aspects of a pep rally at times. Some people offered up the “hey, hey, goodbye” singsong chant more typically used to send defeated teams off to their locker rooms. Parth Chauhan, a sophomore at George Washington University, trumpeted a World Cup-style vuvuzela.

GW student Alex Washofsky, 20, and his roommate Dan Fallon, 20, joined the crowd. Washofsky, a junior and a member of the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, recalled the day shortly after Sept. 11 when President George W. Bush evoked the phrase from “Wanted” posters in the old West, “dead or alive.”

“And we did it,” Washofsky said.

___

Associated Press writers Tom McElroy in New York City, Jessica Gresko in Washington, Genaro C. Armas in Shanksville, Pa., Nomaan Merchant in Little Rock, Ark., Jeannie Nuss in Chicago and Jeff Karoub in Dearborn, Mich., contributed to this report.

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Will killing Osama kill the movement he inspired?

Posted by :) on May 2, 2011

AP

FILE - In this file image provided by Intel Center, Al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, speaks during a new 106-minute long video released Sept. 22, 2
AP – FILE – In this file image provided by Intel Center, Al-Qaida’s No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, speaks during …
By ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press – Mon May 2, 8:06 am ET

WASHINGTON – U.S. intelligence officials believe al-Qaida will have a hard time recovering from the death of its murderous leader, Osama bin Laden.

After all, his heir apparent, Ayman al-Zawahri, is a harsh, divisive figure who lacks the charisma and mystique that bin Laden used to hold together al-Qaida’s various factions. Without bin Laden’s iconic figure running al-Qaida, intelligence officials believe the group could splinter and weaken.

But if there is one thing al-Qaida has proved it is able to do, it is adapt to adversity. Its foot soldiers learned to stay off their cellphones to avoid U.S. wiretaps. Their technical wizards cooked up cutting edge encryption software that flummoxed American code-breakers. And a would-be bomber managed to defeat billions of dollars in airline security upgrades with explosives tucked in his underwear.

Bin Laden’s death, by an American bullet to the head in a raid on his fortified Pakistani hideout early Monday, came 15 years after he declared war on the United States and nearly a decade after he carried out the worst attacks on U.S. soil. But the al-Qaida network he leaves behind is far different from the one behind the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Today, al-Qaida’s core in Pakistan is constantly on the run, hiding from U.S. Predator drones. Communication is slow. The ability to plan, finance and carry out attacks has been greatly reduced. Al-Qaida franchises have sprung up in Yemen, Iraq and Algeria, where terrorists fight local grievances under the global banner of jihad.

In that regard, bin Laden’s death could be far more damaging psychologically than operationally. Al-Zawahri has been running al-Qaida operations for years as bin Laden cut himself off from the outside world. There were no phone or Internet lines running into his compound. And he used a multi-layered courier system to pass messages. It was old-fashioned and safe but it made taking part in any operation practically impossible. Bin Laden had been reduced to a figurehead by the time U.S. commandoes eliminated him, counterterrorism experts say.

Today, the greatest terrorist threat to the U.S. is now considered to be the al-Qaida franchise in Yemen, far from al-Qaida’s core in Pakistan. The Yemen branch almost took down a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas 2009 and nearly detonated explosives aboard two U.S. cargo planes last fall. Those operations were carried out without any direct involvement from bin Laden.

Al-Qaida’s leadership in Yemen has also managed to do what bin Laden never could: adapt the message for Western audiences and package it in English. The terrorist magazine “Inspire,” coaches would-be bombers on how to make explosives. It teaches them that they don’t need to seek training in Pakistan or Yemen, where they could be intercepted by U.S. spies. Rather, they are instructed to become one-man terror cells that pick targets and carry out attacks without any instruction from al-Qaida’s core leadership.

Bin Laden was more of a symbol than anything else, said Qaribut Ustad Saeed, a long-time member of the Hezb-e-Islami rebel group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the U.S. has labeled a terrorist. Saeed is currently a member of the Afghan High Peace Council set up to try to negotiate a peace settlement with the Taliban. Bin Laden’s loss will be an inspirational one, rather than an operational one, he said.

“Osama bin Laden became a symbol and inspiration for the young Muslim extremists,” he said. But the group has expanded into a worldwide movement that is now bigger than bin Laden,” he said.

Even if the U.S. manages to find and kill al-Zawahri, whose last-known sighting was in Peshawar in 2003, it won’t mean the end of al-Qaida. Like Hamas and Hezbollah who have seen their leaders eliminated, al-Qaida will probably continue to exist, terrorism experts say.

Within hours of bin Laden’s death, for instance, members of groups affiliated with the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network in Pakistan were already promising that the day-to-day mission on the ground would not change.

___

SOURCE : Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

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Inside the raid that killed bin Laden

Posted by :) on May 2, 2011

 

Reuters/ABC News/Handout

This video frame grab, obtained from ABC News on May 2, 2011, shows the interior bedroom in the mansion where Osama bin Laden was killed May 1. More photos »

AP

An image made from Geo TV video shows flames at what is thought to be the compound where terror mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed Sunday, May 1, 2
AP – An image made from Geo TV video shows flames at what is thought to be the compound where terror mastermind …
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press – Mon May 2, 6:12 am ET

WASHINGTON – Helicopters descended out of darkness on the most important counterterrorism mission in U.S. history. It was an operation so secret, only a select few U.S. officials knew what was about to happen.

The location was a fortified compound in an affluent Pakistani town two hours outside Islamabad. The target was Osama bin Laden.

Intelligence officials discovered the compound in August while monitoring an al-Qaida courier. The CIA had been hunting that courier for years, ever since detainees told interrogators that the courier was so trusted by bin Laden that he might very well be living with the al-Qaida leader.

Nestled in an affluent neighborhood, the compound was surrounded by walls as high as 18 feet, topped with barbed wire. Two security gates guarded the only way in. A third-floor terrace was shielded by a seven-foot privacy wall. No phone lines or Internet cables ran to the property. The residents burned their garbage rather than put it out for collection. Intelligence officials believed the million-dollar compound was built five years ago to protect a major terrorist figure. The question was, who?

The CIA asked itself again and again who might be living behind those walls. Each time, they concluded it was almost certainly bin Laden.

President Barack Obama described the operation in broad strokes Sunday night. Details were provided in interviews with counterterrorism and intelligence authorities, senior administration officials and other U.S. officials. All spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation.

By mid-February, intelligence from multiple sources was clear enough that Obama wanted to “pursue an aggressive course of action,” a senior administration official said. Over the next two and a half months, Obama led five meetings of the National Security Council focused solely on whether bin Laden was in that compound and, if so, how to get him, the official said.

Normally, the U.S. shares its counterterrorism intelligence widely with trusted allies in Britain, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. And the U.S. normally does not carry out ground operations inside Pakistan without collaboration with Pakistani intelligence. But this mission was too important and too secretive.

On April 29, Obama approved an operation to kill bin Laden. It was a mission that required surgical accuracy, even more precision than could be delivered by the government’s sophisticated Predator drones. To execute it, Obama tapped a small contingent of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six and put them under the command of CIA Director Leon Panetta, whose analysts monitored the compound from afar.

Panetta was directly in charge of the team, a U.S. official said, and his conference room was transformed into a command center.

Details of exactly how the raid unfolded remain murky. But the al-Qaida courier, his brother and one of bin Laden’s sons were killed. No Americans were injured. Senior administration officials will only say that bin Laden “resisted.” And then the man behind the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil died from an American bullet to his head.

It was mid-afternoon in Virginia when Panetta and his team received word that bin Laden was dead. Cheers and applause broke out across the conference room.

SOURCE : Associated Press writers Kimberly Dozier, Adam Goldman and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report; Kathy Gannon contributed from Islamabad.

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