RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the country of Osama bin Laden’s birth, hopes his killing will help the international fight against terrorism and stamp out the “misguided thought” behind it, the Saudi state news agency said Monday.
“An official source expressed the hope of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the elimination of the leader of the terrorist al Qaeda organization would be a step toward supporting international efforts aimed at fighting terrorism,” the news agency said.
It added that Riyadh hoped that bin Laden’s demise would also help break up al Qaeda cells and eliminate the “misguided thought” it said was drives militancy.
Bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan Monday, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide manhunt for the leader of the global Islamist militant network that orchestrated the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
The Saudi comments broke a near-silence that officials of Gulf Arab states had maintained after news emerged of bin Laden’s death.
Yemen, bin Laden’s ancestral Arabian Peninsula homeland, echoed Saudi sentiments, calling his killing a “monumental milestone in the ongoing global war against terrorism” in a statement issued by its embassy in Washington.
A Yemeni official, speaking on condition of anonymity, previously said Sanaa hoped the killing would “root out terrorism throughout the world.”
Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s official news agency had merely noted that the United States and Pakistan had announced bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. military operation in Pakistan, but gave no clue to Riyadh’s thinking.
The foreign ministers of Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, at a meeting of Gulf foreign ministers in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, all declined to comment on bin Laden’s death.
Additional reporting by Mahmoud Habboush; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; editing by Joseph Logan and Mark Heinrich