‘His death will break the iron fist of al-Qaeda in Iraq’

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:16 am IST

Published - May 03, 2011 09:20 am IST

In Iraq, reaction to Bin Laden’s death appeared almost universally positive. Ahmed Abu Risha, a leader of the Awakening Movement, which was credited with reducing al-Qaeda’s influence in the country, said the killing was a relief. “It was a long time coming, but we can breathe comfortably now,” he said from the city of Ramadi in Anbar province.

“Killing him reduces al-Qaeda’s influence in Iraq and Afghanistan. He funded insurgents here and he recruited suicide bombers to fight here. They will now surely face problems with funding and organisation. We now want to help break up this group all over the world.” In south Baghdad, another Awakening Movement leader, Sheikh Moustafa Kamal, said: “If an army loses its leader, the soldiers become weak because they lose structure. Osama was the top leader in this organisation and it will not be easy to find a successor like him. Al-Qaeda faces difficult days.” The head of Iraq’s Sunni Endowment council said bin Laden’s death would enhance the country’s fragile security. “Al-Qaeda in Iraq is mainly local,” said Ahmed al-Sammerie. “But Osama bin Laden was their symbolic leader and his death will change things a lot. It will break the iron fist of the group.” On the streets of Baghdad, which still suffers weekly attacks attributed to al-Qaida inspired groups, locals reacted enthusiastically.

“I am very happy today,” said Qassem Arbid, 50, a school teacher. “It is very good news, but it has come to us late. I would be happier if he was killed before 2003, because it would have stopped all the crimes committed against Iraq.

Umm Mohammed, 44, said she rejoiced at the news. “Believe me I am pleased. I lost my 20-year-old son to an explosion in Baghdad. So I say to the terrorist Osama, you have got the destiny you deserved - an eye for an eye. You killed a lot of people and your fate was suitable.”

Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2011

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