United States

US fears reprisals, Obama praised, after Bin Laden death


The US House of Representatives is to hold a special hearing on today on the danger of reprisal attacks following Osama Bin Laden's death.Meanwhile, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers gave US president Barack Obama a standing ovation on Tuesday night at a dinner which had been arranged before Osama Bin Laden was killed.  


At the dinner, the US president called upon his guests to use the mood surrounding Bin Laden's death, to try to recreate the spirit of national unity which prevailed after the 11 September attacks in 2001.

Obama intends to meet families of the victims of World Trade Centre attack on a visit to Ground Zero in New York on Thursday.

The US president is expected to benefit from a massive boost to his popularity as a result of the operation to get Bin Laden.

His anti-terror advisor John Brennan called his decision to authorise the operation "one of the gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory", and revealed that Obama and his security advisors were able to watch the drama unfold in real time from the White House Situation Room.

Brennan would not reveal exactly how, but there is speculation that one of the commandos involved had a camera attached to his helmet.

The administration has released a photo of Obama and key aides watching the action, though the screen they are viewing is out of shot.

Few Americans have voiced concern that Bin Laden will not face trial, and many conclude that by killing instead of capturing the Al-Qaeda leader, a legal process fraught with difficulties has been avoided.

They cite the televised trial and messy execution of Saddam Hussein in 2003 which had the effect of creating sympathy for him among some Sunni muslims.

But some Islamic scholars have criticised the decision to bury Bin Laden's body at sea.

Washington said Muslim religious rites were administered to the Al-Qaeda leader before his body was eased into the sea, but the senior Sunni Muslim authority on the matter said "If it is true that the body was thrown into the sea, then Islam is totally against that".

US officials said they chose the sea because they wanted to prevent Bin Laden's burial place becoming a shrine.

They are considering whether or not to release photos of Bin Laden's corpse, to prove that the Al-Qaeda chief is really dead, but fear that the pictures could be too "gruesome".


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