Al Qaeda confirms death of Osama bin Laden, vows revenge

by Amal Jayasinghe, Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 06 2011 08:28 PM | Updated as of May 07 2011 08:04 PM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (UPDATE 4) - Al-Qaeda Friday confirmed the death of its leader Osama bin Laden but warned that those rejoicing his killing would have their "blood mixed with tears," while vowing the jihadist network would live on.

The group said in an Internet statement posted on jihadist forums that bin Laden being killed by US forces was "not a shame" and insisted the Americans had failed to eliminate what he stood for.

"We in Al-Qaeda organisation pledge to Allah the Almighty and ask his help, support and steadfastness to continue on the path of jihad, the path walked upon by our leaders, and on top of them, Sheikh Osama," the statement said, according to a translation by US monitoring group SITE.

It said that "the blood of the mujahid Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may Allah have mercy upon him, weighs more to us and is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain."

Al-Qaeda said it will also soon release an audiotape of bin Laden recorded a week before he was killed by US commandos in Pakistan.

The tape included "congratulations, advice and guidance" to popular Arab revolts against autocratic rule.

The statement comes after US President Barack Obama said that American commandos killed bin Laden on Sunday in a covert operation in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.

"(We call upon them) to rise up strongly and in general to cleanse their country (Pakistan) from the filth of the Americans who spread corruption in it," said the statement.

"So if the Americans were able to kill Osama, this is not a shame or stigma.

"Soon -- with the help of Allah -- their happiness will turn to sorrow, and their blood will be mixed with their tears.

"...can the Americans with their media, agents, machinery, soldiers, intelligence and agencies kill.. what Osama lived (for) and that for which he was killed?. No way, no way. Osama did not build an organisation that would die "...can the Americans with their media, agents, machinery, soldiers, intelligence and agencies kill.. what Osama lived (for) and that for which he was killed?. No way, no way. Osama did not build an organisation that would die with his death and go away with his departure."

Soon after Obama's announcement, the Shumukh al-Islam forum, which had been a conduit for Al-Qaeda announcements, had asked users to await confirmation of his death, but many had posted threats against the US to avenge the killing.

The latest statement promised that America and those who live in the US "will never enjoy security until our people in Palestine enjoy it."

The formal Qaeda statement came four days after the Al-Qaeda branch in bin Laden's ancestral home of Yemen said they had confirmation through their contacts in Pakistan that he had been killed.

Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda branches which merged in January 2009 to form the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said on Monday that bin Laden had been killed."

"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," said an AQAP member reached by telephone.

The killing of bin Laden was hailed by most countries in the Middle East and any public outpouring of sympathy for bin Laden or anger against the killing has been muted in a region swept by uprisings against autocratic rule.

Smaller crowds protesting his killing demonstrated on Friday in Cairo, Istanbul and Abbottabad, the Pakistan town where bin Laden was tracked down and killed by US commandos.

Soldiers blocked a march in the Egyptian capital Cairo by hundreds of protesters while in the Turkish capital about 200 people gathered outside an mosque after Friday prayers to protest the killing of Al-Qaeda chief.

In Pakistan, hundreds of activists turned out, but there was no major public outpouring in a country where more people have died in bomb attacks than those killed on September 11, 2001 and ordinary people struggle with prices and power cuts.