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British embassies tighten security
Mon, 02 May 2011 19:33:52 GMT
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The UK government has instructed its missions around the world to establish maximum security measures after the claimed death of al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Foreign Secretary William Hague cabled UK embassies across the globe, advising them to remain vigilant amid concerns of possible retaliatory attacks by al Qaeda members, following the killing of their chief bin Laden at the hands of the US troops in Pakistan.

US president Barack Obama declared the killing of bin Laden, saying that the operation carried out Sunday afternoon in northwest Pakistan resulted from “years of painstaking work” by intelligence agencies that resulted in new clues to bin Laden's whereabouts starting last summer.

The UK Foreign Secretary said that “elements of al Qaida were still in business” and that they would need to be vigilant for "some time to come".

"This is not the end of being vigilant against al Qaeda and associated groups," Hague said.

"There may be parts of al Qaeda that will try to show that they are in business in the coming weeks, as indeed some of them are.

"So I have already this morning asked our embassies to review their security to make sure that vigilance is heightened and I think that will have to be our posture for some time to come.

"This is a very serious blow to al Qaeda but, like any organisation that has suffered a serious blow, they will want to show in some way that they are still able to operate", said Hague.

The Foreign Secretary, who is on an official visit to the Egyptian capital Cairo, said the "removal" of bin Laden was a "very, very positive development".

"It is unequivocally a good thing that he is no longer able to pursue terror, murder and mayhem in the world," he said.

But, he stressed that it did not mean an end to the international military mission in Afghanistan, from where al Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

"Just as we should be clear that this is an important and positive development, we should also be clear that the problems we are dealing with have not gone away," he said.

"We will still have to be vigilant, even more vigilant, in the coming days about the international terrorist threat.

"The work in Afghanistan will continue to be phenomenally difficult and must go on. So it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that suddenly we have solved a mass of the world's problems", said Hague.

MOL/HE
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