Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Senate Armed Services Committee views bin Laden the death photos

Reuters) - A Republican who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee viewed the death photos of Osama bin Laden on Wednesday and said the pictures -- some gruesome -- leave no doubt the al Qaeda leader is dead.

"Absolutely no question about it. A lot of people out there say 'I want to see the pictures' but I've already seen them. That was him. He's gone. He's history," James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said on CNN.

Inhofe said he saw 15 photographs, nine taken at the scene of the May 2 raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan; three from the U.S.S. Vinson, where bin Laden's body was prepared for burial at sea; and three older photographs to compare for positive identification.

"They're gruesome, of course, because it was taken right after the incident," Inhofe said in a separate interview on Fox News.

Inhofe described some photos that showed brain matter protruding from an eye socket. But the senator, a proponent of releasing the pictures, said he had not changed his mind after viewing them.

Inhofe said he thinks at least two photos from the U.S.S. Vinson showing the body being cleaned should be released because they depict an easily identifiable bin Laden.

"I don't buy this whole concept that's coming out of the White House that you don't want to do this -- you might make the terrorists mad," Inhofe said.

President Barack Obama decided not to release post-mortem photos of bin Laden because doing so could incite violence and be used as an al Qaeda propaganda tool.

The CIA on Tuesday offered to show the photos to members of the House and Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees. Inhofe was the first member of the Senate to take the agency up its offer.

"I really wanted to do it so I could say, yes, I have seen it and to allay any of these concerns that perhaps he was not dead," Inhofe said. "He's dead. He's gone."

(Reporting by JoAnne Allen; editing by Todd Eastham)

Discovery's last flight - a tribute:

Man tries to storm airline cockpit shouting "Allahu Akbar!"

SAN FRANCISCO – The passengers sat stunned as they watched a man walk quickly toward the front of American Airlines Flight 1561 as it was descending toward San Francisco. He was screaming and then began pounding on the cockpit door.

"I kept saying to myself: 'What's he doing? Does he have a bomb? Is he armed?'" passenger Angelina Marty said.

Within moments Sunday, a flight attendant tackled Rageh Almurisi. Authorities do not yet have a motive.

While authorities said that Almurisi, 28, of Vallejo, Calif., has no clear or known ties to terrorism, the incident underscored fears that extremists may try to mount attacks to retaliate for the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden last week.
Federal agents are investigating Almurisi's background. He was carrying a Yemeni passport and a California identification card, authorities said.

Yemen, a nation at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula, has been a focus of U.S. officials because one of the most active branches of al-Qaida operates in the remote part of the country.

Almurisi went toward the cockpit door 30 minutes before the flight from Chicago was supposed to land on Sunday night, San Francisco airport police Sgt. Michael Rodriguez said. Almurisi was yelling unintelligibly as he brushed past a flight attendant.
Marty, 35, recalled that she and other passengers on the plane were stunned when they saw Almurisi walking down the aisle. She said a woman in a row across from her who speaks Arabic translated that Almurisi said "God is Great!" in Arabic.

Andrew Wai, another passenger, told KGO-TV on Monday that the wife of one of the men who took Almurisi down later said Almurisi was yelling "Allahu Akbar."

"There was no question in everybody's mind that he was going to do something," Marty said.

A male flight attendant tackled Almurisi, and other crew members and passengers, including a retired Secret Service agent and a retired San Mateo police officer, helped subdue him as he banged on the door, police said. The flight attendant put plastic handcuffs on him.

"Everybody was fixated on him," Marty said. "You never think that something like that would happen in your life."

Wai also said Almurisi appeared "fidgety" in his seat when he saw him on the way to the bathroom earlier in the flight.

The Boeing 737 carrying 162 people landed safely at 9:10 p.m. Almurisi was placed into police custody, as some passengers cried.



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