Al-Qa'ida vows revenge on US for Bin Laden death
Al-Qa'ida last night confirmed its leader Osama bin Laden was killed earlier this week and vowed revenge, saying Americans' "happiness will turn to sadness".
It was the first statement by the terrorist network since its leader was shot dead by American troops on Sunday.
Meanwhile, US special forces fired at Osama bin Laden as he stood in the hallway of his compound but missed, senior politicians have disclosed.
New details of the al-Qa'ida leader's final moments revealed that Navy SEALs shot at him in the doorway of his room.
He subsequently retreated back inside, a move which was assessed to be an "act of resistance". He was shot twice in the head and once in the chest.
The new version of the raid emerged from intelligence briefings. Senator Saxby Chambliss, a member of the senate intelligence committee, said: "They blew the door open, and they looked down the hallway and he stuck his head out of the room that he was in, and saw them, and ducked back in. They fired a shot, and missed him the first time and then went to the room. And that's when they killed him.
"You have to remember that this was pitch dark. When they got into the room with Bin Laden, they already had to go through some other folks downstairs, two of which they killed. And they were having to use explosives to blow doors open. By the time they got to him, they didn't know what they would find.
"They did find an AK-47 and a pistol in Bin Laden's room.
"Whether he was making any move to get to that is not clear. But taking him down in pitch-dark conditions was the right thing to do." According to US officials, Bin Laden's decision to retreat inside his room was critical. One US official said: "He was retreating. You don't know why he's retreating, what he's doing when he goes back in there. Is he getting a weapon? Does he have a (suicide) vest?"
Another source involved in the operation said that Bin Laden appeared "scared and completely confused" in the moments before he was shot.
He said: "When the SEALs reached the third floor, after resistance and physical barricades, Bin Laden did not immediately surrender. When someone like Bin Laden who has said he wants to kill as many Americans as possible, doesn't 150 per cent surrender, you have to assess as a threat."
The new version of events added to growing pressure for the White House to disclose a full account of the raid.
Professor Christof Heyns, the UN's independent investigator of extrajudicial killings, said: "Washington should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards. It will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden."
Officials have already been forced to correct a number of statements, including claims that Bin Laden had been armed and cowering behind his wife when he was shot.
Meanwhile, militant Islamists around the world rallied yesterday to mourn Bin Laden's death and pledged to continue his war against the West.
In the town of Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was killed, demonstrators gathered to accuse America of breaching Pakistani sovereignty.
Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, the local head of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's biggest Islamic political party, said: "We will take a revenge on all the American cruelty," he said.
"We will serve the dignity of this country and we'll struggle for his dignity and sovereignty and against the Pakistani rulers who are friends of America." (© Daily Telegraph, London)