Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was killed in a shootout with U.S. forces in Pakistan, in the town of Abbottabad, 35 miles north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. His death marks the end of a 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
"A lot of people feel relieved, especially the victims of the terrorist attacks", Yves Leterme, PM of the federal caretaker government, said in an interview with the VRT. "Under normal circumstances, one should expect a trial, but I think that, taking into account what happened in the past, this is a good solution."
However, the PM also warned that now "the symbol Bin Laden" has been eliminated, the whole world will have to remain vigilant as terrorist attacks might follow as a sort of revenge. Mr Leterme (Flemish Christian democrat) added that his government will meet specialists in the coming hours and days to decide whether to step up security measures in Belgium or not.
The Belgian troops in Afghanistan will stay there until the end of the year, as planned. "We are making a constant evaluation of our military presence and we will continue to do that in the coming days."
"His death makes the world a safer place"
Belgium's Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council (archive photo), has released a statement together with José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission.
"Osama Bin Laden was a criminal responsible for heinous terrorist attacks that cost the lives of thousands of innocent people. His death makes the world a safer place and shows that such crimes do not remain unpunished", the joint statement says.
"This is a major achievement in our efforts to rid the world of terrorism. The European Union continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States, our international partners and our friends in the Muslim world in combating the scourge of global extremism and in building a world of peace, security and prosperity for all."