Posts Tagged ‘Osama bin Laden’
For one Plymouth woman, the death of Osama bin Laden Sunday had more than the usual resonance – Maura Heidcamp narrowly escaped death in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Heidcamp was working in the export division of Ocean Spray and had gone to New York for a training class the night before the attack.
The group of about 12 people from across the country met around 8:30 a.m. on the 55th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. They introduced themselves to each other at the beginning of the meeting. Once they finished, the instructor turned on a PowerPoint presentation. Then the plane hit.
She and the others were able to leave the building using the stairs in an orderly fashion, without panic. Around the 20th floor, firefighters passed them on their way up but would not give them any information.
The news of bin Laden’s death nearly 10 years later – at the hands of a US special forces team in Pakistan — took her by surprise because she thought the hunt for bin Laden had been put on the back burner.
“It was happy for me, but it just kind of brings everything back when you hear that,” she said. “I was relieved that they had not only found him, but had killed him.”
Brandeis University researcher Aaron Zelin has been monitoring reaction to Osama bin Laden’s death on several jihadi Web forums and has found extremists divided over whether he is actually dead, with many requesting a photograph as solid proof.
He’s also found that many of bin Laden’s supporters say they’re happy to think he’s dead.
“They have been praising bin Laden as a glorious martyr, he’s now in paradise and this is a great thing,” he said. “There are some that are angry and making threats, though one can obviously not say the veracity of the threats, but I’m guessing most of them are empty rhetoric.”
Zelin has been monitoring these sorts of forums for the past few years, but has been following more closely in the past two days to understand the perspective of extremists in the wake of bin Laden’s death.
“I think that there are some mixed feelings” among the extremist community, he said.
Many don’t believe the news because there hasn’t been a photograph and no high-ranking Al Qaeda official has made an announcement, he said.
Zelin said he intends to keep monitoring the forums as more details of bin Laden’s death are released.
“There’s obviously still a lot of unknowns about everything because it’s so fresh,” he said. “I think it’ll be interesting especially if the Obama administration decides to release the photos.”