CAIRO, EGYPT – Terrorist organization Al-Qaeda on Friday confirmed its leader, Osama Bin Laden, was killed by U.S. forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Sunday. However, the message from the group's "general leadership" warned of retaliation for the killing, saying America's "happiness will turn to sadness."
The announcement, dated May 3 and the first since Bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALS, was posted on militant Web sites. The Associated Press says the message has not been independently confirmed yet, but it was posted in the same manner -- and in the same locations -- of past messages that were verified as genuine.
Besides warnings for the U.S. and praise for their beloved "holy warrior,' the statement may indirectly quash some of the conspiracy theories that have begun to surface after Bin Laden's quick burial at sea and President Obama's refusal to release a gruesome death photo of the world's most wanted man. By confirming their leader's death, it now seems extremely difficult to argue that Bin Laden has been dead for years -- or any of the other nefarious schemes cooked up by those who doubt the official version of events.
Of course, the statement also confirms the terror network has no plans to wave a surrender flag.
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According to the Associated Press: "The announcement opens the way for the group to name a successor to Bin Laden. His deputy Ayman al-Zawahri is now the most prominent figure in the group and is a very likely contender to take his place...The statement's authenticity could not be independently confirmed, but it was posted on websites where the group traditionally puts out its messages."
The statement reads:
"The blood of the holy warrior sheik, Osama bin Laden, God bless him, is too precious to us and to all Muslims to go in vain," the statement said. "We will remain, God willing, a curse chasing the Americans and their agents, following them outside and inside their countries."
"Soon, God willing, their happiness will turn to sadness," it said, "their blood will be mingled with their tears."
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"It is impossible, impossible. Sheik Osama didn't build an organization to die when he dies," the statement read. "The university of faith, Quran and jihad from which bin Laden graduated will not close its doors," it added.
"The soldiers of Islam will continue in groups and united, plotting and planning without getting bored, tired, with determination, without giving up until striking a blow... [Bin Laden] was killed along an established path followed by the best of those who came before him and those who will come after him."