Osama’s al-Qaeda ready for a fight ASIA TIMES:
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
ISLAMABAD – Command of al-Qaeda will be taken over by a select handful of leaders who had been chosen in advance of the death of Osama bin Laden, who was killed on Monday morning in a strike by Pakistani and American special forces on a compound in Abbottabad, about 65 kilometers north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
The death of the 54-year-old Bin Laden, who had a US$50 million reward on his head, is also likely to mark the beginning of a shift of the war theater from Afghanistan to Pakistan, al-Qaeda insiders tell Asia Times Online.
Asia Times Online contacts in the North Waziristan tribal area – a militant hotbed – confirmed that several meetings had already been convened in the town of Mir Ali to formulate strategies. They all confirmed an immediate and fierce retaliation against Pakistan and the breaking up of all ceasefire agreements with the Pakistan military.
The US had been on Bin Laden’s trail ever since he fled Afghanistan when American forces invaded the country in 2001 to oust the Taliban in retaliation for the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington; Bin Laden and al-Qaeda planned the attacks while guests of the Taliban.
“I can report to the American people and to the world, that the US has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” President Barack Obama, also the US commander-in-chief, said from the White House. “After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body,” Obama said. “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s efforts to defeat al-Qaeda.”
It his believed one of his sons, two of his wives and many aides were killed in the raid, which included helicopter gunships.
Bin Laden’s death was confirmed by Pakistani intelligence. Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), said the ISI had been aware of the operation and was part of the whole process.
The US has put all its embassies on alert, warning Americans of al-Qaeda reprisal attacks. This corresponds with information obtained by Asia Times Online that Bin Laden’s death is likely to revive international terror operations against Western capitals that had been frozen following the great Arab 2011 revolt.
Late last month, Bin Laden warned that al-Qaeda would unleash a “nuclear hellstorm” if he were captured, according to classified diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks.
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