Al-Qaida is urging Muslims around the world to avenge the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, at the hands of U.S. special forces.
The U.S. monitoring group SITE Intelligence quoted on Friday a statement attributed to the terrorist network, confirming the death of its leader for the first time.
Bin Laden message
In the statement post on militant websites, al-Qaida vowed to continue its attacks on Americans and U.S. allies both inside and outside the United States. It also promised to release soon an audio message that it said bin Laden recorded the week before his death.
U.S. officials responded by saying they remain "highly vigilant" for any possible retaliatory attacks.
U.S. special forces killed bin Laden early Monday during a covert raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad - a two-hour drive from Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.
In its statement, Al-Qaida urged Pakistanis to rise up against their government and "cleanse" their country of what it called the shame brought on them by bin Laden's death in Pakistan.
The killing of bin Laden prompted hundreds of people to protest against the United States in the southwestern city of Quetta Friday. One cleric said the death of al-Qaida's leader would produce thousands of other Osamas.
Widespread anti-Americanism in Pakistan is fueled by the 10-year war in neighboring Afghanistan and a CIA effort to target militants who live in Pakistan's tribal regions.
Earlier Friday, Pakistani intelligence officials said one of Osama bin Laden's wives told them she stayed at the compound where the terrorist leader was killed for five years.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.