News / Europe

Europe Welcomes bin Laden's Death

Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, speaks on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, in London May 1, 2011
Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, speaks on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, in London May 1, 2011
Lisa Bryant

European leaders from Russia to Britain have hailed the death of Osama bin Laden as a major achievement in efforts to rid the world of terrorism.

Swift reaction

Europe was swift to react to President Barack Obama's announcement that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is dead.

In a statement Monday, the leaders of the European Council and European Commission said bin Laden's death made the world a safer place and showed that terrorist attacks do not remain unpunished.

Bin Laden's al-Qaida network led or inspired attacks around the world since 1993, killing at least 4,000 people.

British Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated U.S. President Barack Obama for the success of the Navy Seal operation that killed the terrorist leader in the Pakistan city of Abbottabad.  He described the death of bin Laden as a massive step forward in the fight against extremist terrorism. "Of course, it does not mark the end of the threat we face from extremist terror.  Indeed, we will have to be particularly vigilant in the weeks ahead," said Cameron. "But it is, I believe, a massive step forward."

Watch a related report by Henry Ridgwell



Message to terrorists


Spanish civil guard and police officers guard the U.S. embassy in Madrid, May 2, 2011
Spanish civil guard and police officers guard the U.S. embassy in Madrid, May 2, 2011

Russia, Germany, Italy and France also applauded U.S. forces for killing bin Laden. But many, like French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, also offered a note of caution.

In remarks on French radio, Juppe said the world must be more vigilant than ever. He noted the bombing attack in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh just a few days ago that killed at least 14 people.

While bin Laden has been most spectacularly linked to the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, al-Qaida is also blamed for the 2004 train bombings in Spain that killed 191 people. The network also claimed credit for the 2005 bombings in London that killed 52 people.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also welcomed the announcement, saying the world had been awaiting the news of bin Laden's death for 10 years -- since the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States that left some 3,000 people dead in a matter of hours.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel described it as a victory for the forces of peace in the world.  But she echoed many European leaders' concerns by adding that bin Laden's killing by U.S. forces in Pakistan Sunday night did not mean that terrorist attacks would come to an end.

A statement released by the Kremlin in Russia, which is combating religious militants in the Caucasus, said that retribution inevitably reaches all terrorists and that Russia is ready to "step up" its coordination in the international fight against global terrorism.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who has been battling militant Kurdish separatists, said bin Laden's demise sent a message to terrorist organizations around the world.

Vigilance recommended


Sunshine reflects from the pillars of the memorial to the victims of the July 7, 2005 London bombings, in Hyde Park, central London May 2, 2011
Sunshine reflects from the pillars of the memorial to the victims of the July 7, 2005 London bombings, in Hyde Park, central London May 2, 2011

Disaffected youth in Europe have headed to terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Chechnya, and al-Qaida's disparate branches have kidnapped Europeans overseas and warned Europe of more attacks to come. 

"Although this is seen as a victory for many in the United States, it is one that is also shared by many here in Europe," said Maha Azzam, a Middle East analyst for the London-based think-tank Chatham House. "The specter of terrorism from al-Qaida has existed for a decade now in Europe and therefore the removal of this very important symbol is seen as an important step to undermining al Qaida."

French analyst Philippe Moreau Defarges believes bin Laden was a man of the past, who was unable to make a difference politically. He says that can be seen with the current Arab protests, in which al-Qaida appears largely marginalized.

"... but we still have a lot of frustrated people, we still have a lot of bitter people, and one way to be heard, one way to make some noise, is to use terrorism," he said.

For its part, France-based international police agency Interpol urged greater vigilance in dealing with a heightened terrorism risk as a result of bin-Laden's death.

Based in France, Interpol is the world’s largest international police organization, with 188 member countries.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs