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US Official: bin Laden Death Will Lead to Al-Qaida's Demise

VOA News May 03, 2011

A top Obama administration official says the United States plans to use the death of Osama bin Laden to destroy his al-Qaida terrorist network.

White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said in a televised interview Tuesday that bin Laden's death was the latest in a series of U.S. operations that have dealt what he called "severe body blows" to al-Qaida.

And the next blow to the terrorist organization could come from intelligence gathered during the daring, secret U.S. raid that killed bin Laden.

U.S. officials say analysts are continuing to scour digital and paper files that U.S. Navy Seals took from the $1 million compound that sheltered the world's most wanted man north of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

Kerry trip planned

In Washington Tuesday, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat John Kerry, said he plans to travel to Afghanistan in less than two weeks to discuss with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and others the killing of bin Laden and "how that might affect some of their calculations."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta is briefing lawmakers in both the House and Senate Tuesday on the death of bin Laden.

Options weighed

U.S. officials say President Barack Obama weighed several options before ordering the military assault that killed the al-Qaida leader.

The president opted against bombing the compound, which officials said would have made it difficult to confirm if bin Laden was present and killed.

The Pakistani government was not informed of the mission until the helicopters were out of Pakistani air space.

Pakistani support

In a briefing Monday, Brennan suggested that bin Laden had benefited from some sort of support system in Pakistan. His compound was in Abbottabad, a military garrison town some 60 kilometers from Islamabad. There had been persistent reports that bin Laden had sought refuge in Pakistan's lawless western border region.

Brennan said there had been plans to take bin Laden alive, but officials said the al-Qaida leader resisted and was shot in the head.

Sea burial, DNA proof

U.S. military officials said DNA testing showed with nearly 100 percent certainty that bin Laden was killed.

Officials said he was buried at sea after being given traditional Muslim funeral rites, with his body washed and placed in a white sheet.

The death comes just months before the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks carried out by members of al-Qaida on the United States.

The U.S. State Department has warned Americans living abroad to be extra vigilant, amid fears of possible retaliatory attacks. It said U.S. government facilities worldwide are at a heightened state of alert, and may temporarily close or suspend public service to assess their security needs.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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