Leaders praise US for bin Laden raid; India criticised Pakistan

India took a fresh swipe at Pakistan for providing a safe haven for terrorists as a range of world leaders expressed relief that Osama bin Laden was killed early yesterday.

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With memories still raw of the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, India's home minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, registered his government's "grave concern" that bin Laden was killed in Abbotabad in the heart of Pakistan.

"This fact underlines our concern that terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in Pakistan," said Mr Chidambaram in a statement.

"We believe that the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack, including the controllers and handlers of the terrorists who actually carried out the attack, continue to be sheltered in Pakistan."

There were expressions of satisfaction over the success of the US raid in several other nations that had experienced devastation after al Qa'eda-inspired attacks.

In Kenya, where more than 200 people died and 1,000 were injured in the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, President Mwai Kibaki described the killing of bin Laden as an "act of justice".

Commending all those involved in the operation, Mr Kibaki said in a statement: "The killing of Osama has taken place nearly 13 years after the terrorist bombings in Nairobi that led to the death of over 200 people, in an act believed to have been masterminded by Osama."

Spain, where 191 people died in train bombings on the Madrid train network in 2004, hailed bin Laden's death as a "decisive step in the fight against international terrorism".

Congratulating President Obama and the US armed forces, the Spanish government said in a statement: "The government reiterates its commitment to co-operating with the United States and other nations in the fight against terrorism wherever it is developed or carried out."

Russia, too, welcomed the killing and said it was ready to join an increased, international effort to fight terrorism.

The Kremlin issued a statement saying: "Russia was one of the first to come up against the threat of global terrorism and, unfortunately, knows first hand what al Qa'eda is.

"Retribution to all terrorists is inexorable. Only joint co-ordinated battle against terrorism can bring tangible results. Russia is ready for stepping up this co-operation."

Across Europe the reaction to bin Laden's death was tempered by fears that al Qa'eda operatives might seek revenge through terror attacks.

Britain, where al Qa'eda-inspired suicide bombers killed 52 people on London's transport system in 2005, was among several countries to order its overseas missions to review security immediately.

Foreign Secretary William Hague, on a visit to Cairo, told the BBC: "This is a very serious blow to al Qa'eda but, like any organisation that has suffered a serious blow, they will want to show in some way that they are still able to operate."

It was a message echoed by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who said bin Laden's death only emphasised the need for her nation's militarily presence in Afghanistan.

"The death of Osama bin Laden is not the end of al Qa'eda," she told a news conference in Canberra. "That is why here, in Australia, we will continue to do what we need to do to keep the nation as safe as we can from threats of terrorism."

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France praised the "tenacity" of the US and said that bin Laden's death represented some sort of justice for the thousands of people, including many Muslims, who had been killed by al Qa'eda across the world.


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