(AFP) – May 2, 2011
DUBAI — Osama bin Laden's ancestral homeland Yemen and his birthplace Saudi Arabia on Monday both hailed his death while his acolytes called it a "catastrophe" and vowed to keep up jihad, or holy war.
"We hope the killing of bin Laden will be the beginning of the end of terror," a Yemeni official said, asking not to be identified.
A formal statement from the Sanaa government called the elimination of bin Laden a "monumental milestone in the ongoing global war against terrorism."
Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda branches merged in January 2009 to form the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
"This news has been a catastrophe for us. At first we did not believe it, but we got in touch with our brothers in Pakistan who have confirmed it," an AQAP member told AFP by telephone on Monday.
An Internet outlet for official messages from Al-Qaeda has been deleting posts of bin Laden's death and pledged that the jihad, or holy war, will continue, US monitoring group SITE reported early on Monday.
It said the Shumukh al-Islam forum has been asking users to wait for confirmation of the death before making any more posts, but there was a heavy flow of messages offering prayers and vowing that jihad will continue.
Users also threatened the United States.
"America will reap the same if the news (of his death) is true (or) false," one read. "The lions will remain lions and will continue moving in the footsteps of Osama," said another.
In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood said it did not endorse Al-Qaeda tactics, but hailed bin Laden's "commitment and dedication to his ideology to his death."
Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu Bakr warned that another Al-Qaeda could emerge unless the international community changed its attitude towards Islam, the Palestinian issue and corruption in the Middle East.
Israel was quick to celebrate bin Laden's killing at the hands of US covert forces in Pakistan, calling it a "resounding victory for justice."
"The state of Israel joins the American people on this historic day in celebrating the elimination of Osama bin Laden," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office.
"This is a resounding victory for justice, freedom and the common values of all democracies that are resolutely fighting shoulder to shoulder against terrorism."
The Islamist Hamas ruling the Gaza Strip, condemned the killing.
"We condemn any killing of a holy warrior or of a Muslim and Arab person and we ask God to bestow his mercy upon him," Hamas government chief Ismail Haniya told journalists.
But in the West Bank, Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad welcomed it, saying he hope it would end a "very dark era."
"I would definitely view this as a major, indeed mega landmark event," Fayyad said at a news conference.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood insisted that bin Laden did not represent Islam and that the United States should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. "Islam is not bin Laden," Mahmud Ezzat, the Brotherhood's number two, told AFP.
Bin Laden's deputy, Egypt-born Ayman al-Zawahiri, recently accused Washington of installing sympathetic new regimes in Tunisia and Egypt following popular revolts that toppled their long-time presidents.
In Saudi Arabia, where bin Laden was born and his family has a successful construction business, the government said his killing will support an international drive against terrorism.
"Saudi Arabia hopes that the elimination of the leader of the terrorist Al-Qaeda organisation will be a step towards supporting international efforts aimed at combating terrorism," the official SPA news agency said.
A local resident who declined to give his name said bin Laden had drawn widespread hatred towards Islam by placing it next to terrorism.
"Every Muslim has become a suspect in the West. That is his fault," he said, adding that bin Laden's death may help Saudi Arabia "turn a page and end attacks."
Student Nasser Ismail said he was "sad" that the terror chief was killed by US forces, but hoped that the death may end discriminatory religious and ethnic profiling of Muslims.
In Yemen, reactions were mixed.
"Sheikh Osama bin Laden made the Arab and Islamic nations proud. His death represents a catastrophe for all," said Ali Ahmed, 30.
But Mohammed al-Saadi, 65, appeared keen to distance Muslims from bin Laden.
"He had nothing to do with Islam... The world is better after his death," he said.
In Kuwait, a liberal woman MP, Aseel al-Awadhi, said she was pleased about the killing.
"Bin Laden's death is an opportunity for the Arab and Muslim nations to restore the Islamic identity that had been hijacked by extremism," she said in a statement.
Kuwaiti Islamic cleric Sheikh Hamed al-Ali, however, called bin Laden's "martyrdom" a "great calamity."
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP he was "delighted" at the killing and noted that thousands of Iraqis had died "because of his ideologies."
The 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference said it followed the news with "great attention" and stressed that terrorism was against the teachings of Islam.
US forces in Iraq said they suspected the killing may provoke retaliatory attacks against American interests.
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