Pakistan officially confirms death of al Qaeda leader bin Laden

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry has officially confirmed the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the first official statement from the Central Asian country after U.S. President Barack Obama made the announcement late on Sunday night.

“In an intelligence driven operation, Osama Bin Laden was killed in the surroundings of Abbottabad in the early hours of this morning,” a statement on the Pakistani Foreign Ministry’s site said. “This operation was conducted by U.S. forces in accordance with declared U.S. policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by U.S. forces, wherever found in the world.”

Pakistan has repeatedly denied that bin Laden was in the country and insisted he was in Afghanistan.

“Earlier today, President Obama telephoned [Pakistani] President [Asif Ali] Zardari on the successful U.S. operation which resulted in killing of Osama bin Laden,” the statement read.

At least 44 U.S. Navy SEALs were involved in the military operation to capture bin Laden. According to preliminary reports of the shootout, the al Qaeda leader was shot in the head while hiding behind a woman during the operation. The unidentified woman and three men, one believed to be bin Laden’s son, were also killed in the operation that lasted several minutes.

No U.S. military personnel were killed in the operation.

The U.S. State Department earlier warned U.S. citizens about possible heightened threats towards Americans living throughout the world in connection with the death of bin Laden. The State Department has issued global travel warning for all U.S. citizens. Some embassies around the world may reduce working hours or temporarily close their doors for security reasons, the State Department said.

NEW DELHI, May 2 (RIA Novosti)

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