Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Osama bin Ladin Said Killed: But Will Israel Benefit?

Osama bin Ladin, the Saudi born Al Qaeda terrorist leader who was responsible for masterminding the 9-11 terror attacks in the USA is now said to have been killed in a secret commando raid on a villa he was living in, located in the Pakistan city of Abbottabad. The nighttime operation, carried out Sunday night, May 1, by a team of specially trained US Navy SEALS, attacked the 3 story heavily fortified mansion, located about 62 miles north of the Pakistan capital of Islamabad. During the ensuing firefight, the man believed to be bin Ladin, was killed along with several others during a brief fire fight. Bin Ladin was killed by a shot in the head; and his body was taken by the assault team for positive identification - presumably in the USA.

The special and very dangerous mission was only undertaken after US President Obama had received enough information that the man living in the suspected house was indeed bin Ladin. The government of Pakistan cooperated with the US forces by allowing them to use a Pakistani air force base to launch the secret operation.

Bin Ladin, who was born on July 30, 1957 in Riyadh Saudi Arabia, was the son of a wealthy Saudi businessman. After inheriting a large sum of money following his father's death, bin Ladin began to adopt a very strict Islamic way of life that eventually resulted in his creating the terrorist organization known as Al Qaeda, or "The Base" in Arabic. Bin Ladin began his self proclaimed war against the "enemies of Islam" by directing a number of terrorist operations against American and other foreign interests in various parts of the world. These operations included the bombing of an American military housing compound in Saudi Arabia (1996), the bombing of the American embassies in Nairobi Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania (1998); the suicide boat ramming of the UUS Cole in Aden Yemem in 2000. Finally, the September 11, 2001 mega terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon intelligence center in Washington DC resulting in the USA declaring war on bin Ladin and his organization. In the 9-11 attacks alone, nearly 3,000 were killed, including the passengers on 4 commercial airliners – 3 of which were literally crashed into the terrorists' targets.

Al Qaeda and bin Ladin, together with his associates (including Al Qaeda No. 2 man Ayman al Zewahiri) have been the subjects of a massive man hunt that has been ongoing for nearly ten years. Other top Al Qaeda leaders, including bombing specialist Abi Musab al Zaeqawi have been either killed or captured during this period.

Upon receiving the news of bin Ladin's death, millions of Americans began celebrating in cities all over America, especially in both New York City and Washington DC, the scenes of the 9-11 attacks. US President Barak Obama, in a special televised address to the American people, said the following:

"Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan," Obama said. "A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body."

President Obama, as well as international experts has cautioned everyone that the killing of Osama bin Ladin does not mean to end of Al Qaeda's ability to carry out more terror attacks. "We must be vigilant and not let this success prevent our willingness to protect ourselves from such attacks in the future", Obama said. The President also told the American People – and the world that "this attack is not against Islam as bin Ladin and his men were not representatives of Muslims or Islam."

While bin Ladin's death may help considerably in the fight against terror, Al Qaeda and other fanatical organizations are still a threat, especially to Israelis both at home and abroad. Israel has to contend with a number of radical groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah (backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran), and others. Now that the rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have agreed to form a government together, the potential threat to Israel has become even more possible. And while Israeli leaders can congratulate the United States for ridding the world of Osam bin Ladin, we living in Israel still have plenty of threats to be vigilant about.

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