KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan's Taliban, who sheltered Osama bin Laden when they governed the country prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Tuesday that it would be "premature" to comment on U.S. claims that al-Qaida's leader had been killed during a raid on a compound in Pakistan.
"As the Americans did not present sufficient evidence to prove their claim and also sources close to Osama bin Laden have neither denied nor confirmed his death, it would be premature to comment," Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said in a statement posted on the militant group's website.
Al-Qaida has been silent on the U.S. reports, though some bin Laden supporters officially acknowledged the likelihood that he's dead. "It is with grief that we received the news that the great holy warrior Osama bin Laden was martyred by the Americans," read a statement from an organization in Jalalabad that commemorates Mawlavi Yunis Khalis, who was the Taliban governor of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan.
Bush declines invite
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to visit New York City on Thursday to mark the death of bin Laden. NBC News reported Tuesday that Obama invited former President George W. Bush to attend the event but Bush does not plan to attend.
NBC said Bush plans to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks at ground zero in September.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that Obama also would be in New York for the 10th anniversary, at the formal opening of the national memorial to the nearly 3,000 people who died in the terrorist attacks.
Some new words
CHICAGO — Bin Laden's killing thrust some new terms — and some old ones — into the American lexicon.
Abbottabad: The place in northern Pakistan where bin Laden lived in a custom-built, walled compound. It takes its names from James Abbott, a British colonial officer who founded it in 1853.
Assassination: Murder committed for hire, without provocation or cause of resentment given to the murderer by the person upon whom the crime is committed.
EKIA: Enemy killed in action.
HVT: High-value target.
SEAL Team 6: An informal name for a classified, specialized and experienced military unit widely reported to have spearheaded the assault. SEALs is short for Sea-Air-Land Teams.
Gazans pay tribute
GAZA CITY, Gaza — About two dozen Palestinians gathered in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to pay tribute to bin Laden.
About 25 people holding pictures and posters of bin Laden rallied outside a Gaza City university. The crowd included al-Qaida sympathizers as well as students who said they opposed bin Laden's ideology, but were angry at the United States for killing him and consider him a martyr.
Hamas police did not interfere in the demonstration.
In the weeks ahead of bin Laden's death, a survey in the Arab world by the Pew Research Center found support for him had dropped dramatically in recent years — though it remained the highest among Palestinians.
Dismissal of charges
NEW YORK — It should happen with little or no fanfare: Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are expected to file court papers this week that will formally ask a judge to dismiss all charges against bin Laden.
The move should formally close a case that began in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with an indictment on June 10, 1998, and expanded over the years with nearly a dozen later versions, adding some two dozen defendants and several new plots.