2 May 2011

LIVE BLOG: Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan

Osama bin Laden has been killed by US troops in Pakistan, ending a decade-long hunt for the man accused of orchestrating 9/11. Add your voice to the Channel 4 News live blog.

Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan.
LIVE BLOG: Osama bin Laden death – reaction

19.00: John Brennan, President Barack Obama‘s top counter-terrorism adviser, tells reporters that the US commandos on the raid had been ready to take al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden alive if that had been possible. He also reveals President Obama watched the operation live via a videolink. See video here. The CIA releases aerial pictures of bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.

More from Channel 4 News: The man who tweeted Osama bin Laden raid

17.30: The US did not tell partners about bin Laden’s whereabouts before the operation that killed him and it appears Pakistan was not aware of his location. “This was a unilateral US operation … We did not notify any of our counter-terrorism partners in advance,” a senior US defence official confirms.

The compound in Abbottabad where it is said Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces.

(The compound in Abbottabad where it is said Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces. Picture: @ReallyVirtual/Twitter)

17.10: Barack Obama tells a press conference the world is now a better place, adding: “There’s nothing we [Americans] can’t do when we put our shoulders to the wheel.”

17.00: Osama bin Laden was buried at sea from the deck of a US aircraft carrier in the north Arabian Sea after being washed according to Islamic custom and receiving a religious funeral, says US defence official. In what appeared to be “lessons learned” following the death of Saddam Hussein, a detailed statement was released about the respect shown to bin Laden’s body.

It is reported bin Laden’s wife identified him by name during the raid and that she was used as a human shield by the terror chief.

The spokesman said: “The deceased’s body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was place on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased’s body eased into the sea.”

More from Channel 4 News: Osama bin Laden’s life in pictures

16.30: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “The death of bin Laden, announced by President (Barack) Obama last night, is a watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism.”

16.10: A US offical says initial DNA results show a “very confident match” to the al-Qaeda leader. The test showed “high confirmation” that it was bin Laden killed in the raid in Pakistan. It is reported bin Laden’s wife identified him by name during the raid and that she was used as a human shield by the terror chief.

16.05: The US is in a “heightened state of vigilance” for possible retaliation attacks, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

A watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism. Ban Ki-moon

16.00: Twitter user @ReallyVirtual, a resident of Abbottabad, who unknowingly broke news of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden has become the subject of world interest. He now has more than 40,000 followers. Following thousands of enquiries he posted the following message: “Bin Laden is dead. I didn’t kill him. Please let me sleep now”. Read more: The man who tweeted bin Laden raid

15.45: Writing for Channel 4 News, defence analyst Anthony Tucker-Jones – who was part of the original team hunting Osama bin Laden – says “clearly the operation to eliminate Bin Laden did not go entirely smoothly”. Read more: Osama bin Laden: the hunt ends ten years on

15.30: Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf says that news of Osama bin Laden‘s death is a “positive step”. Musharraf said he also expected some short-term instability due to acts of revenge.

Comment via Twitter: @petersatweeter The reaction of Americans on the streets is disappointing, demonstrates the simplistic (and nasty) nature of their politics.
Osama bin Laden death: the room where he was killed.

14.50: More details are revealed about how the raid to kill Osama bin Laden unfolded. Politico.com reports that the original plan was to bomb the house, but President Obama “ultimately decided against that”. It is reported that Bin Laden resisted the assault force, and was shot in the face during a firefight”. It is believed that US forces took photographs of the body.

(Pictured: the room at Osama bin Laden’s compound where it is believed he was shot and killed. Reuters/ABC News)

14.45: It is reported that the US helicopter that crashed during bin Laden kill operation was brought down by a “lack of air” from high compound walls.

An eyewitness in Abbottabad tells Channel 4 News: "I first heard the helicopters at around 1 o'clock: they were moving from one place to another like they were searching for something in the town. Soon after, there was a huge blast...
"The compound is not in the main [part of town]: it's on the side of the town and it's not a residential area; it was in the farm area. On its side is a lot of fields so no one goes there: there are no shops, no movement; noone could have guessed there was something happening there."

14.35: Statement from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “I know there are some that doubted this day would ever come. But this is America, we get the job done. The fight goes on… this is a day for people all over the world to look to a more peaceful and secure future.”

Channel 4 News special report: War on Terror

14.00: CIA Director Leon Panetta says al-Qaeda will “almost certainly” try to avenge the US killing of Osama bin Laden. He said: “Though bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda is not. The terrorists almost certainly will attempt to avenge him, and we must – and will – remain vigilant and resolute.”

“No big deal” or “momentous achievement”? Read here: The key quotes on Osama bin Laden’s death

13:30: A former associate of Osama bin Laden from 1989 to 2000, Noman Benotman, has said: “Bin Laden’s death is a major blow to al-Qaeda. His death will seriously hurt the morale of many al-Qaeda supporters around the world. However, at an operational level, bin Laden’s death may have no immediate effect on the group’s activities.”

Comment via Facebook: Florence Martin I wish he had been brought to justice in a court of law, not killed violently like this. I am praying for peace and an end to violence on all sides.

13.15: US special forces team that hunted down Osama bin Laden was under orders to kill the him, not capture him, says US national security official, as Channel 4 News reported earlier. Read more: ‘There would be no attempt to capture bin Laden’

12.50: Saudi Arabia, the country of Osama bin Laden’s birth, says it hopes his killing will help the international fight against terrorism and stamp out the “misguided thought” behind it – Saudi state news agency.

At an operational level, bin Laden’s death may have no immediate effect on the group’s activities. Noman Benotman

12.00: Pakistani Taliban threatens attacks against government leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistan army and the US after the killing of Osama bin Laden. “Now Pakistani rulers, President Zardari and the army will be our first targets. America will be our second target,” Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), said.

BLOG: Jon Snow – Osama’s gone, now the real challenge

11.55: Palestinian Islamist group Hamas condemns killing of Osama bin Laden and will mourn him as an “Arab holy warrior”.

More from Channel 4 News: Osama bin Laden killed by US forces in Pakistan

10.00: Details of the operation against Osama bin Laden emerge. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in coordination with the CIA masterminded and directed the mission. It took approximately 40 minutes to find him – in a building just 100 metres from a Pakistani army base – and kill him. The final “go” for the operation was given by President Obama. US forces led a targeted operation that killed the al-Qaeda leader in a compound in Abbotabad. No Americans died in the operation.

09.05: The Vatican says Osama bin Laden will have to answer to God for having killed many people and exploiting religion to spread hate.

08.50: German Chancellor Angela Merkel tells Barack Obama that she is relieved about the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

David Cameron statement on the death of Osama bin Laden:
"The news that Osama Bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world. Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen - for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives, many of them British.
"It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror.
"This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama Bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones. It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism. Their work will continue.
"I congratulate President Obama and those responsible for carrying out this operation."

08.30: Britain tells its embassies to review security for fear of reprisals following the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces.

08.15: Foreign Secretary William Hague says the UK should be “even more vigilant” than usual for the threat of terror attacks in the coming days.

(Above: video shows New Yorkers celebrating death of Bin Laden)

07.50: The western-backed Palestinian Authority says the killing of bin Laden by US forces is “good for the cause of peace”.

06.45: Jihadist groups reportedly pray thst news of Osama bin Laden’s death is not true. Hints at retaliation. A message on noe Arabic language forum reads: “Oh God, please make this news not true… God curse you Obama.”

More from Channel 4 News: Pakistan drone warfare

Monday 2 May 2011: UK learns of bin Laden death in the early hours of the morning

05.30: US officials say that that three adults besides Osama bin Laden were killed in the raid.

05.16: David Cameron said news of Osama bin Laden’s death would “bring great relief to people across the world”.

A Twitter user in Abbottabad unknowingly tweets the start of the operation: @ReallyVirtual Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).

04.50: Former President George W Bush ays the death of the al-Qaeda leader is a “momentous achievement.”

04.40: US President Barack Obama confirms that US forces have killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the man accused of masterminding the 9/11 terror strikes. The attacks in 2001 killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Bin Laden was America’s most wanted man, with a $25m bounty on his head.

Osama bin Laden. (Getty)

“Justice has been done,” President Barack Obama said as the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was confirmed following a firefight involving US troops.

Reports from Pakistan say that bin Laden’s body has already been disposed of at sea. Flag-waving celebrations have taken place in Washington and New York. David Cameron has called the news a “great relief” but Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned of reprisal attacks.

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