Al-Qaeda confirmed the death of its leader Osama bin Laden and threatened to avenge his killing in a statement posted on jihadist Internet forums yesterday, the US monitoring group SITE Intelligence reported.
“We in al-Qaeda organization pledge to Allah the almighty and ask his help, support and steadfastness to continue on the path of jihad, the path walked upon by our leaders and on top of them, Sheikh Osama,” SITE said, quoting the statement.
“We also stress that the blood of the mujahid Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may Allah have mercy upon him, weighs more to us and is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain,” it said.
“We call upon our Muslim people in Pakistan, on whose land Sheikh Osama was killed, to rise up and revolt to cleanse this shame that has been attached to them by a clique of traitors and thieves who sold everything to the enemies,” it said.
“[We call upon them] to rise up strongly and in general to cleanse their country [Pakistan] from the filth of the Americans who spread corruption in it,” the statement said.
UN human rights experts yesterday pressed the US for full disclosure of the facts surrounding the killing of bin Laden because of the -example such action could set.
“Actions taken by states in combating terrorism, especially in high profile cases, set precedents for the way in which the right to life will be treated in future instances,” said the UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism measures, Martin Scheinin, and the rapporteur on extrajudicial and summary executions, Christof Heyns.
“In respect of the recent use of deadly force against Osama bin Laden, the United States of America should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards,” they said.
“For instance it will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture bin Laden,” they added in a statement.
The White House’s shifting story of the attack has raised doubts about US assurances that special operations forces sent to bin Laden’s hideout in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad were prepared to take him alive.
US Attorney General Eric Holder insisted on Wednesday that the raid during which bin Laden was killed “was lawful and consistent with our values.”
The two UN experts acknowledged that “acts of terrorism are the antithesis of human rights” and that in some exceptional cases, “use of deadly force may be -permissible as a measure of last resort ... in order to protect life.”
“However, the norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially decided punishment,” they said. “It may well be that the questions that are being asked about the operation could be answered, but it is important to get this into the open.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has repeated a similar call for full disclosure.
TRAIN ATTACK PLAN
Meanwhile, intelligence found in bin Laden’s compound revealed al-Qaeda was considering a possible train attack at an unspecified -location in the US as a grim marker of this year’s 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
However, while US officials played down any imminent threat, describing the plot as “aspirational,” it may indicate that bin Laden remained more integral to the everyday running of al-Qaeda than previously thought.
US President Barack Obama yesterday was to meet members of the elite commando team that shot bin Laden.
Obama’s meeting was to take place at the Fort Campbell army base in Kentucky, an official said, and it comes a day after he paid homage to the victims of al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks at the site of the World Trade Center in New York.
Obama “will have the opportunity to privately thank some of the special operators involved in the operation,” an unnamed official said.