Osama Bin Laden played a hand in al-Qaeda right up until his death. Over the past few years, terrorism experts came to see bin Laden as not much more than Qaeda’s symbolic leader. It was widely believed that he no longer concerned himself with day to day operations, but that view is changing in light of documents and files retrieved during the raid at his home in Abbottabad, earlier this week.
“He wasn’t just a figurehead,” one American official, who declined to be identified,told The NY Times. “He (Laden) continued to plot and plan, to come up with ideas about targets and to communicate those ideas to other senior Qaeda leaders.”
One of those ideas was to derail a train somewhere in the United States, perhaps over a bridge during a holiday last year. That information was gleaned from the cache seized at bin Laden’s compound. Officials say it appears that the plans were nowhere near ready for execution, more of a wish on a list or “aspirational.” According to the Associated Press, the FBI and Homeland Security has forwarded this information to law enforcement agencies around the U.S.
Al-Qaida posted its first public statement since bin Laden was killed saying in part Americans’ “happiness will turn to sadness.” And, “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.”
Ayman al-Zawahri, second in command under bin Laden, is now widely seen as the person to take over the terrorist organization.
Al-Qaida offered no details of when or how it would try to retaliate for bin Laden’s death.
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