By Joanne Bladd
Gulf state minister calls for vigilance following death of al Qaeda leader in Pakistan firefight
The death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a shoot-out in Pakistan does not signal the end of the war on terror, the UAE warned Tuesday.
The Gulf state, which was one of the first Arab countries to speak out on the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist, warned of the need to stay vigilant.
“'The death of bin Laden does not spell the end of Al Qaeda and terrorism,'' Tariq Al Haidan, the UAE’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, said in comments published by state news agency WAM. “We must exercise caution and vigilance so as to preserve the security of the UAE and its people.”
Bin Laden was killed by a small team of US soldiers in a firefight Sunday at a compound in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad. His body was buried at sea less than 24-hours later, US officials said.
Al Haidan said his demise could help remove the stigma associated with Islam in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
“Apart from claiming lives of thousands of innocent victims, terrorism has had significant negative impact on the image of Islam and Muslims.” The news of bin Laden’s death Sunday was met by near-silence by Gulf Arab states. Saudi Arabia, the country of bin Laden’s birth, was the first to respond by saying it hoped his demise would aid the fight against terror.
"An official source expressed the hope… that the elimination of the leader of the terrorist al Qaeda organization would be a step toward supporting international efforts aimed at fighting terrorism," the Saudi state news agency said Monday.