White House calls killing of bin Laden "defining moment" in war on terror

11:04, May 03, 2011      

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White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said on Monday that the killing of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden was a "defining moment" in the U.S.-led war against al-Qaida, and the United States seeks to bury the rest of the terrorist network with him.

"It is going to have I think very important reverberations throughout the area on the al-Qaida network," Brennan, assistant to the President for Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security, said at a White House briefing. "We're hoping to bury the rest of al- Qaida along with bin Laden."

U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday night announced the killing of bin Laden, the architect of the 9/11 terrorist strikes in 2001 that killed over 3,000 people.

"If we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that," Brennan said.

Brennan emphasized that no Pakistani forces were involved in the attack, and the United States did not tell Pakistan about the raid until forces exited airspace.

Pakistan has been cooperating in the U.S.-led war against terrorism, but the two countries had been at odds at times, he noted.

"We are looking right now at how he was able to hold out there for so long and whether or not there was any type of support system within Pakistan that allowed him to stay there," Brennan said.

There were reports earlier Monday that DNA tests have confirmed the one that was killed in the raid was bin Laden, but suspicions still linger on as to how the DNA sample was collected when bin Laden was alive.

Brennan said the United States is going to "do everything we can" to prevent denials of bin Laden's death, but it's still to be determined whether to release a photo of bin Laden's dead body.

Asked about the al-Qaida without bin Laden, Brennan said "it may be a mortally wounded tiger that still has some life in it."

He warned of potential retaliatory attacks by al-Qaida operatives or other terrorist groups. But he said there is not any credible information to warrant issuing a warning under the new terror alert system.

Source: Xinhua
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