WASHINGTON D.C. – The world is a safer place now that terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is dead, according to U.S. President Barack Obama.
President Obama took to the airwaves for the second time in 12 hours to praise the people who gathered spontaneously at the White House and in New York to celebrate bin Laden’s death. At the same time, he singled out members of the military.
“We’re reminded that we’re fortunate to have Americans who dedicate their lives to protecting ours,” said the President. “They volunteer, they train, they endure separation from their families, they take extraordinary risks so we can be safe.”
“Our country has kept its commitment to see that justice is done [...] There’s nothing we can’t do when we put our shoulders to the wheel, when we work together, when we remember the sense of unity that defines us as Americans.”
Obama added that the green light for the operation was given on Friday at 8:30 a.m. Sunday’s raid at bin Laden’s compound, located a short drive from Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad, went on for approximately 40 minutes. He was shot several times according to U.S. intelligence officials. Many tests, including DNA tests showed the man killed in the raid was bin Laden with 99.9 per cent certainty.
Questions remain about whether Pakistani officials knew of bin Laden’s whereabouts and if the information was shared with the U.S.
An American intelligence official said the al-Qaeda leader’s burial happened in the North Arabian Sea, but a number of Muslim clerics have expressed their anger over the burial’s violation of Islamic tradition. Interpol has warned it could further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks against American targets.
Intelligence officials also believe Osama bin Laden made a propaganda recording shortly before his death and expect that tape to surface soon.
It is unclear whether the tape is audio or video, but a U.S. official says that intelligence indicates it is already working its way through al-Qaeda’s media pipeline. The official said the timing was coincidental and there is no indication he knew U.S. forces were bearing down on him.
A new recording from bin Laden would provide a final word from the beyond grave for a terrorist who taunted the U.S. with recorded propaganda for years. It could also provide fodder to those who insist he is still alive.
Meanwhile, the RCMP continues to assess the situation to see if what – if any – impact bin Laden’s death might have on the threat level in Canada.