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Osama's killing: US lawmakers warn Al Qaeda exists

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Hailing the killing of dreaded terrorist Osama Bin Laden, top US lawmakers today warned that although the militant mastermind may be dead his organisation Al Qaeda and its affiliates still live on.

"The killing of Osama Bin Laden closes an important chapter in our war against extremists who kill innocent people around the world," Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said.

"A single death does not end the threat from Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups. We must remain vigilant and committed to keeping the world safe and secure," he noted.

He said this is a victory for US intelligence and military professionals and a victory for the American people.

"It also brings a sense of relief to all of those who lost loved ones on 9/11," he said.

"The face of Al Qaeda is dead. But the organisation and its adherents live on. While we can rejoice, we can't let our guard down," said Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade Subcommittee.

"President Obama reported that Pakistani President Zardari was pleased. The concern is that many Pakistanis won't feel that way. We've killed a lot of terrorists. This is the big one. His killing has great symbolic value worldwide," Royce said.

Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Mike Rogers said that the terrorist has been brought to justice "with the blood of thousands of Americans on his hands, and brought justice to the families of his victims."

"This closes a key chapter in the war on terror – it's hard to imagine an end to Al Qaeda without the death of Bin Laden. While we can all certainly celebrate this important victory, the fight will go on. We will not stop until Al Qaeda has been eliminated," Rogers said.

Overjoyed at the death of Bin Laden, Senator John McCain, said the world is a better and more just place now that the Al Qaeda leader is no longer in it.

"I hope the families of the victims of the September 11th attacks will sleep easier tonight and every night hence knowing that justice has been done," he said.

"But while we take heart in the that Osama Bin Laden is dead, we must be mindful that Al Qaeda and its terrorist allies are still lethal and determined enemies, and we must remain vigilant to defeat them," McCain said.

Senator Richard G Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Bin Laden's death in no way eliminates the threat from the terrorism he espoused.

"This is another reminder that Americans cannot hide from global affairs," he said.

Senator Frank Lautenberg said the Al Qaeda terrorist's disciples must know that the free world is united against terror and will fight terrorists no matter who they are, where they hide and no matter who their protectors might be.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the death of Bin Laden strikes a significant blow to those violent extremists who seek to destroy the US.

"But our struggle against the enemies of freedom continues," she said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said this is most significant victory in the fight against al Qaeda and terrorism, but that fight is not over.

"We will continue to support our troops and the American civilians who are fighting every day to protect our homeland," he said.

Senator Joe Lieberman said the death of Bin Laden, unfortunately, does not mean the end of the Al Qaeda network he built, the hateful ideology he helped propagate, or the threat against US.

"Terrorists will continue to seek to murder Americans at home and abroad, and so too must our ever more determined global efforts to thwart their plots, destroy their networks, and defeat their ideology," he said.

"I applaud our military men and women, President Obama, and our intelligence officers for this historic moment. Since the unforgettable tragedy of September 11 nearly a decade ago, Americans have waited for justice to be served," said Senator Mark Begich.

"While the enormity of this moment cannot be overstated, we all recognise that the threat of terrorism still exists and we must remain vigilant. We will continue to stay alert and confront the national security threats we face," said House Democratic Whip Steny H Hoyer.

"While we celebrate a major victory in one battle against evil, we should recognise that the larger war against terrorism continues. Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen, Africa and Asia remain dedicated to killing Americans and our allies," said Congressman Howard P 'Buck' McKeon, chairman, House Armed Services Committee.

"We know that even as they mourn the loss of their inspirational leader, they will not waver in their determination to attack us and our way of life. As we rejoice, we must remain vigilant, and continue to support our brave men and women in uniform, as well as our courageous intelligence officers, around the world who serve on the front lines against this determined enemy," McKeon said.

Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Co-Chairman of the US Helsinki Commission, said Bin Laden was a murderer who devoted his life to the destruction of freedom, democracy and "our way of life".

"Tonight all Americans can feel safer knowing that Bin Laden is dead, but we must remain vigilant in the continued fight against Al Qaeda and any terrorists who seek to harm our nation," he said.

First Published: Mon, May 02 2011. 12:39 IST
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