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Officials: Bin Laden Urged Followers to Attack US

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U.S. officials say Osama bin Laden’s handwritten journal shows the al-Qaida leader urging his followers to focus on targeting the United States in a large-scale attack.

Media reports quote the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. They say the notebook details al-Qaida’s doctrine, potential targets and how to carry out attacks against them. It describes plots against the U.S. rail system and the importance of attacking the U.S.

In one journal passage, officials say bin Laden wondered how many Americans would have to die in U.S. cities to force the U.S. government to withdraw from the Arab world.  Officials say the al-Qaida leader concluded that only an attack on the scale of September 11, 2001, would shift U.S. policy.

Sifting through contents

Bin Laden is believed to have personally written the journal, which U.S. Navy SEALs seized from his compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad during the May 2 operation that killed him.

U.S. intelligence officials are still in the process of sifting through the contents of dozens of flash drives, computers, and paper documents seized during the raid.

Officials say so far they have seen no evidence of specific, imminent plots against the U.S. or other Western targets.

Pakistani outrage

In Pakistan, the public and politicians continued to protest the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden.  Earlier this week, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned of “serious consequences” from such unilateral actions. He has ordered a military probe into how bin Laden was able to hide out in Pakistan for several years.

On Thursday, about 300 supporters of Pakistan’s main opposition leader, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, rallied in Abbottabad to protest the U.S. military operation and the Pakistani intelligence agency’s failure to detect the raid.

Sharif has called for an independent probe led by the judiciary into how bin Laden came to live in Abbottabad and the U.S. operation that killed the al-Qaida leader. The former prime minister has called the raid a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Demonstrators on Thursday shouted slogans against the United States and the Pakistani government.

Strained relations

The U.S. raid has further strained ties between the United States and Pakistan.

U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter held talks with officials at Pakistan’s foreign ministry on Thursday. No details have been released.

In Washington, some U.S. lawmakers said they saw photos of bin Laden’s body after he was shot and killed. Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from the state of Oklahoma, told reporters the photos were “pretty gruesome.”

U.S. forces buried bin Laden at sea.

The White House says it will not publicly release photos of bin Laden’s body, for fear the images will incite violence or be used as a propaganda tool.

Categories: MIDDLE EAST

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