We have several breaking developments on the raid that left Osama bin Laden dead. There's a new report on who led the CIA to the site. Plus, details on a U.S. drone strike against a terrorist. We'll tell you who was being targeted and whether it was successful. Plus, much more.
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(CNN) - A U.S. military drone fired a missile within the last 48 hours in Yemen aimed at the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. official told CNN Friday.
The missile was fired at an area in southern Yemen that al-Awlaki is known to have frequented, the official said.
The official said the targeting information was not the result of information gathered from the seizure Monday of materials from Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.FULL STORY
(CNN) - A statement from al Qaeda on Friday marking the death of Osama bin Laden included renewed warnings of terrorist attacks against U.S. interests around the world and suggested that a process to choose his successor is under way.
"Sheikh Osama didn't build an organization to die when he dies," the message said. It was posted on several jihadist forums known for carrying al Qaeda statements.
The man taking over will most likely be Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian who was al Qaeda's No. 2 under bin Laden.
The bylaws of al Qaeda, recovered by the U.S. military in Afghanistan after September 11, set out clear guidelines on the replacement of bin Laden, requiring the Command, or Shura, Council of al Qaeda to "pledge allegiance to the deputy emir and elect him as emir in the event that the emir dies or is captured and there is no hope for his liberation."
It would be risky for al Qaeda's on-the-run leadership to assemble a meeting of its Shura Council. They may therefore choose to shortcut some of the required proceedings.
Analysts expect that al Qaeda may choose to announce the elevation of al-Zawahiri through a written statement to avoid having him take the security risk of recording a statement. But they also expect that at some point, al Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab, will release a video to mark bin Laden's death for maximum propaganda impact, one that could feature a "martyrdom" video recorded by bin Laden to encourage followers.
The As-Sahab videotape would probably include a message from al Qaeda's new leader.FULL STORY
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Fort Campbell, Kentucky (CNN) - President Barack Obama met Friday afternoon with members of the military team responsible for conducting the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, and promised a war-weary nation victory over al Qaeda.
"We are ultimately going to defeat al Qaeda," the president told more than 2,300 troops who recently returned from Afghanistan. "We have cut off their head."
"Our strategy is working and there is no greater evidence of that than justice finally being delivered to Osama bin Laden," he declared. "We're still the America that does the hard things, that does the great things."
The president made his remarks at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home to the Army's 101st Airborne Division and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the group that operated the helicopters used in the raid.
While at Fort Campbell, the president, along with Vice President Joe Biden, privately met with members of Navy SEAL Team 6, the unit that conducted the raid.
Obama and Biden thanked the commandos and were briefed on the operation by the unit members who conducted it, according to a White House official.
Obama awarded Presidential Unit Citations to the units involved in the mission, the official said. The citation is the highest such honor that can be given to a military unit.
"They practiced tirelessly for this mission, and when I gave the order they were ready," the president told the troops. "They're America's quiet professionals."
It was a "job well done," he said.FULL STORY
(CNN) - Al Qaeda released a statement on jihadist forums Friday confirming the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamist websites.
The development comes days after U.S. troops killed bin Laden in a raid on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.
The statement, translated by SITE, lauded the late militant, threatened to take action against the United States, and urged Pakistanis to "rise up and revolt."
Bin Laden's death will serve as a "curse that chases the Americans and their agents, and goes after them inside and outside their countries," the message said.
"Soon - with help from Allah - their happiness will turn into sorrow, and their blood will be mixed with their tears," it said.
The statement said al Qaeda will "continue on the path of jihad, the path walked upon by our leaders ... without hesitation or reluctance."FULL STORY
Reporter's Note: President Obama went to Ground Zero today. And I wrote another letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
Here is something I don’t say all the time: I envy your job today. The fact that you are going to meet with the Navy SEALs who attacked Osama bin Laden’s compound is really quite intriguing, and since they will never - or at least not for a long time - be able to tell their story, I wish I were with you to hear it.
One of the big reasons news people get into news is to have a front row seat for history and when we have to wait outside the room it’s frustrating. Oh well.
That said, I have to admit that I’ve heard about all I want to hear about the raid at this point. Despite my dedication to collecting and sharing information for a living (I had an aunt like that, come to think of it), I do think there are limits to what we can safely know about operations such as this.
Even with Osama bin Laden gone, we live in a world where there are plenty of people who would like to do us harm - from dedicated enemies to freelance nuts - and in my experience such groups often include folks who devour every scrap of information about how we collect intelligence, plan our attacks, and handle information - all with a goal of making it harder and harder for us to keep track of their efforts or do anything to stop them.
Accompanying the Navy Seals who completed the bin Laden mission was a faithful four-legged fighter. The trained military dog, either a German Shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, was attached to a human Seal and lowered from a helicopter into the compound. Wearing canine armor, he went along to sniff out hidden explosives or, if necessary, find a secret room of bin Laden's.
Editor's note: AC360 looks back on President Obama's visit to Ground Zero less than a week after Osama bin Laden was killed.