Governments around the world, warning against complacency in fighting terrorism, prepared for retaliatory attacks after Osama bin Laden’s death, the Wall Street Journal reports. The death of bin Laden “places al Qaeda’s new leadership under extreme pressure to prove al Qaeda is a viable organization,” said Raphael Perl of the Action Against Terrorism Unit at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Al Qaeda may within days launch a large-scale attack or several smaller attacks “as a vehicle to introduce its new leadership,” he said.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the terror network’s most active affiliate, could launch retaliatory attacks. AQAP was behind the failed 2009 Christmas Day airliner bombing attempt in Detroit and the foiled 2010 air-cargo plot. “AQAP is a likely candidate for retributive attacks, although attacks against the West take some time to plan and carry out—and the branch faces its own organizational limitations,” said Leah Farrall, an Australian counterterrorism analyst. “Localized reactions against U.S. and Western interests in the Arabian peninsula are more likely in the short term.”