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NEWS & POLITICS - Osama bin Laden's death welcomed by bereaved relatives of al Qaeda victims

News of Osama bin Laden’s death was greeted with relief and approval yesterday by many of those still mourning the loss of loved ones caught up in al Qaeda atrocities.

Over the last decade, 67 Britons were killed in the September 11 attacks in 2001, 26 died in the Bali bombings a year later and 52 lost their lives in the July 7 attacks of 2005.
Hundreds of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan have also been killed in a conflict sparked by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Yesterday, people not accustomed to condoning violence found themselves applauding the violent end to bin Laden.
Pauline and Charles Berkeley lost their 37-year-old son Graham in the 9/11 attacks. He was on the fated United Airlines flight 175 heading to Los Angeles which was hijacked and then crashed into the South Tower, killing all on board.
Speaking from her home in Shrewsbury, Mrs Berkeley said they were delighted the hunt for bin Laden had come to an end.
“We are just so happy to know that he has been killed,” she said.
“We are not vindictive people, we do not normally rejoice at the death of someone, but I am afraid he was a very wicked man.
“All the people he had been training to be wicked as well - I just hope that they realise that life is for living and not for killing.”
Patricia Bingley, from London, who lost her only son Kevin Dennis, 43, in the 9/11 attacks said her primary emotion was relief.
“I have been waiting 10 years to hear this news,” she said. “It's a great relief to me. I never thought I would live to see it happen.
“I am very grateful indeed... I really thought they had forgotten about him and he had just disappeared.
Mrs Bingley said she was also pleased he had been killed rather than captured alive.
Maggie Owen, whose daughter Melanie Devere was in the north tower of the World Trade Center, said her emotions were mixed, but she was overwhelmingly pleased bin Laden was dead.
“My first reaction was ‘oh great, they have got him,’” she said. “Then I thought I don’t like to hear about anyone dying – bad or good.
“But then there is the fact that he caused so much misery and for so long, it’s a shame they didn’t get him long ago.
“I really applaud those American soldiers who went in there, they are heroes, they are wonderful to go and get him at last.”
Mrs Owen, from Portsmouth, said she was concerned about reprisals but felt the elimination of bin Laden would hurt terrorists across the world.
“This does prove they are not invincible, they are not going to win in the end – it is the age old battle of good and evil.
“They haven’t got a right to cause this much pain and inflict this much misery on so many people.
“My life stopped on September 11 and then a different life took over.”
Sean Cassidy, whose 22-year-old son Ciaran was killed on the Piccadilly line on July 7, 2005, congratulated the Americans.
"I am very happy, and very well done to the Yanks, they deserve their praise. It's been a long time coming and I don't know how he was able to stay loose.
However, Mr Cassidy, 63, said bin Laden's death did not mean an end to terrorism: “There are plenty more willing to fill his shoes - all those fanatical organisations have their young pretenders."
John Falding, who lost his partner Anat Rosenberg on the No 30 bus on July 7 said he too feared reprisals.
“There will be an element that will want revenge. There will be some attempt to prove that al Qaeda still exists, that it can still command assets and support.
“I think they will try something not on a big scale, but something that we cannot ignore. I do feel we need to be vigilant.”
Yet his primary emotion echoed that of many others: “I feel relieved, it is also a great feeling of comfort that it will mean such a lot around the world to all those victims of terrorism and there are thousands and thousands of them.”
Among those ambivalent to the news was David Hartley, whose wife Marie, 34, of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, was killed on July 7.
He said bin Laden’s death brought no real sense of justice and that he worried about who would replace him: "They have got one but there are more behind there.
"I can't see this meaning terrorism is likely to stop there. They might try retaliating a bit more now.”
John Daniels, whose cousin Rick Rescorla helped guide 2,700 people to safety before dying in the World Trade Center, said he feared for the future.
Speaking from Hayle, in Cornwall, he said: "While we're obviously pleased someone has paid for the hideous acts 10 years ago - and all the subsequent attacks since - I do fear his death will cause greater attacks of reprisals.
"So, while the death has made the world a better place, unfortunately it has not made it safer."
Graham Knight, whose son Ben was killed aged 25 when his RAF Nimrod plane exploded over Afghanistan in 2006, said the death had made him reflect.
"I am pleased. I think he was an evil man who hasn't died as a martyr but as the terrorist that he was.
“I suppose we have just been reflecting on the fact that had it not been for bin Laden masterminding 9/11 and carrying it out, my son and lots of other people's sons would still be alive because the war in Afghanistan would never have taken place.”

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