People in Abbottabad Doubt Osama bin Laden Assassination Story
Bin Laden’s neighbors shocked; doubt US assassination claims (Ynet):
Residents of affluent Islamabad suburb where arch-terrorist made his home finding it hard to believe that man who terrorized world for over a decade was living just down the street.
“We heard two small blasts then one large blast. Then we heard helicopters for around 20 minutes and the operation was over” – that is what Osama bin Laden’s neighbors told Ynet’s special reporter and the first Israeli reporter to arrive near the house in Pakistan, where the leader of al-Qaeda has been living until, US navy SEALs assassinated him in a daring commando op.
For years the Americans thought bin Laden, who was responsible for the 2001 September 11 attacks was hiding in the tribal region belt between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But it has now been revealed that for the last three years he had been living at the mansion where he was assassinated in an affluent suburb in Pakistan’s capital. It is an area not usually associated with the Taliban and most of the residents aren’t al-Qaeda supporters. Neighbors said the house belonged to a man from the Taliban stronghold of Peshawar.The house in the town of Bilal in Abbottabad near the capital city of Islamabad is only 50-60 meters from neighboring houses. Not far from there is Pakistan’s military academy and a military hospital. Tanks and artillery troops are stationed nearby.
Neighbors and local media doubted the US announcement over the al-Qaeda leader’s assassination. They found it hard to believe that the man that terrified the world for years was living right next door.
Not everyone believes bin Laden really is dead (AP):
Knowing there would be disbelievers, the U.S. says it used convincing means to confirm Osama bin Laden’s identity during and after the firefight that killed him. But the mystique that surrounded the terrorist chieftain in life is persisting in death.
Was it really him? How do we know? Where are the pictures?
Already, those questions are spreading in Pakistan and surely beyond. In the absence of photos and with his body given up to the sea, many people don’t believe bin Laden — the Great Emir to some, the fabled escape artist of the Tora Bora mountains to foe and friend alike — is really dead.
U.S. officials are balancing that skepticism with the sensitivities that might be inflamed by showing images they say they have of the dead al-Qaida leader and video of his burial at sea. Still, it appeared likely that photographic evidence would be produced.
“We are going to do everything we can to make sure that nobody has any basis to try to deny that we got Osama bin Laden,” John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, said Monday. He said the U.S. will “share what we can because we want to make sure that not only the American people but the world understand exactly what happened.”
In the immediate aftermath, people in Abbottabad expressed widespread disbelief that bin Laden had died — or ever lived — among them.
“I’m not ready to buy bin Laden was here,” said Haris Rasheed, 22, who works in a fast food restaurant. “How come no one knew he was here and why did they bury him so quickly? This is all fake — a drama, and a crude one.”
Kamal Khan, 25, who is unemployed, said the official story “looks fishy to me.”
The burial from an aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea was videotaped aboard the ship, according to a senior defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because a decision on whether to release the video was not final. The official said it was highly likely that the video, along with photographs of bin Laden’s body, would be made public in coming days.
The swiftness of the burial may have raised suspicions but was in accord with Islamic traditions. Islamic scholars, however, challenged U.S. assertions that a burial at sea was an appropriate fate for a Muslim who had died on land.
The act denied al-Qaida any sort of burial shrine for their slain leader. Once again, bin Laden had vanished, but this time at the hands of the United States and in a way that ensures he is gone forever.