Cairo: Putting to rest speculation on whether their leader was killed in the US raid,the al Qaida on Friday confirmed the killing of Osama bin Laden and warned of retaliation, saying Americans` "happiness will turn to sadness."
The confirmation came in an Internet statement posted on militant websites, signed by "the general leadership" of al Qaida. The announcement opens the way for the group to name a successor to bin Laden. His deputy Ayman al-Zawahri is now the most prominent figure in the group and is a very likely contender to take his place.
However, there are reports claiming that US-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki may succeed Osama. Al Awlaki is dubbed the bin Laden of internet because he uses the web to spread his evil gospel.
The statement, dated May 3, was the first by the terror network since bin Laden was killed Monday by US commandos in a raid on his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The statement`s authenticity could not be independently confirmed, but it was posted on websites where the group traditionally puts out its messages.
"We stress that the blood of the holy warrior sheik, Osama bin Laden, God bless him, is precious to us and to all Muslims and will no go in vain," the statement said. "We will remain, God willing, a curse chasing the Americans and their agents, following them outside and inside their countries."
"Soon, God willing, their happiness will turn to sadness," it said, "their blood will be mingled with their tears."
In the statement, al-Qaida also called on the people of Pakistan — "where Sheik Osama was killed" — to rise up in revolt against its leaders. It also said that an audio message bin Laden recorded a week before his death would be issued soon.
In the hours and days succeeding the US raid on May 2, the al Qaeda had been reluctant towards confirming the death of Osama - had asked for evidence.
What aided their suspicion are America’s claims that Osama was buried at sea and also the reluctance in releasing Osama’s death photos.
However, it seems, the evidence of the mission is so overwhelming and that Pakistan having itself accepted the reality of the operation might have prompted Qaeda to accept the reality.
The confirmation comes at a time when US officials are claiming to have recovered documents from the Abbottabad mansion suggestive of a plan by Qaeda to launch an attack on the US rail network to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
With agency inputs