On May 1, the State Department warned Americans throughout the world of
the prospect of an Al Qaida attack. The department urged Americans abroad to
"Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S.
citizens in areas where events could cause anti-American violence are
strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and
avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations," the State Department said.
"The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling and
residing abroad to the enhanced potential for anti-American violence
following recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan," the department
Officials said U.S. embassy operations could be reduced in the
Middle East in wake of the Bin Laden killing. Officials said virtually all
embassies were assessing security arrangements.
Officials said the U.S. intelligence community has warned of attacks on
American military and civilian targets in the Middle East and South Asia in
wake of the killing of Bin Laden on May 1 near Islamabad, Pakistan. They
said retaliation could be left to one or several major Al Qaida franchises
formed over the last seven years.
"There is no doubt Al Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us,"
President Barack Obama said. "We must, and we will remain, vigilant at home
"Counterterrorism efforts must continue, and in the short-term perhaps
even increase," Daniel Byman, research director for the Saban Center for
Middle East Policy, said. "The risk of revenge attacks should lead to a
focus on bolstering defenses in the short-term."
Byman said the most likely successor to Bin Laden would be his Egyptian
deputy, Ayman Zawahiri. Zawahiri, also believed to be based in Afghanistan
and Pakistan, has been regarded as Bin Laden's liasion to Al Qaida
"Aggressive strikes on Al Qaida leaders in Pakistan and the global
intelligence and policy campaign must continue," Byman said.
Another franchise was Al Qaida in Iraq, founded in 2004 by
Jordanian national Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi. Officials said AQI has been
seriously weakened and was not believed capable of staging a major strike
"We understand that the fight against Al Qaida continues, and that fight
continues even as we mark the loss of Osama Bin Laden," a senior U.S.
intelligence official said on May 2.