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America’s Greatest Terror Threat Dead

Crowds Gather Outside White House
A jubilant crowd gathered outside the White House as word spread of bin Laden’s death after a global manhunt that lasted nearly a decade.

“Justice has been done,” the president said.

A U.S. official says bin Laden’s body will be handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.

The impact Osama bin Laden’s death will have on his al-Qaida organization is unclear.

The greatest terrorist threat to the U.S. is now considered to be the al-Qaida franchise in Yemen, far from the group’s core in Pakistan, where bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces.

It was al-Qaida’s Yemen branch that almost took down a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas 2009 and nearly detonated explosives aboard two U.S. cargo planes last fall.

Those operations were carried out without any direct involvement from bin Laden. U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who’s reportedly hiding in Yemen, is believed to be the inspiration behind those plots.

Al-Awlaki recently wrote in the new edition of al-Qaida’s online magazine that one thing violent Islamist groups will be able to take advantage of is the Arab world’s wave of political unrest.

Osama bin Laden’s Egyptian right hand man is now seen as the top candidate for the world’s top terror job.

Bin Laden had the charisma but it was the strategic thinking and the organizational skills of Ayman al-Zawahri (AY’-muhn ahl-ZWAH’-ree) that kept al-Qaida together after the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

It’s too early to tell how exactly al-Qaida will change, but the group under al-Zawahri would likely be further radicalized, unleashing a new wave of attacks to avenge bin Laden’s killing by U.S. troops in Pakistan.

Al-Zawahri’s extremist views and his readiness to use deadly violence are beyond doubt.

In a 2001 treatise, he set down the longterm strategy for the jihadi movement — to inflict “as many casualties as possible” on the Americans, while trying to establish control in a nation to use as a base.

Story From The Assocaited Press

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