Daily Mail

Bin Laden’s death was a ‘tragedy’ said Corbyn

- By Tamara Cohen Political Correspond­ent t.cohen@dailymail.co.uk

JEREMY CORBYN described the assassinat­ion of Osama bin Laden as a ‘tragedy upon a tragedy’ that would make the world a more dangerous place.

In TV footage which emerged online for the first time last week, the Labour leadership frontrunne­r criticised the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist in a raid by US special forces.

He told Iranian national television, shortly after bin Laden was shot four years ago, that the 9/11 mastermind should not have received the ‘death penalty’, but should have been put on trial. Failure to do so, Mr Corbyn said, was ‘a tragedy upon a tragedy’, after the World Trade Center attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanista­n.

Critics have described his remarks as ‘frightenin­g’ and displaying a complete lack of understand­ing of difficult military operations. They will fuel the deep concerns of many voters about Mr Corbyn’s antipathy to Western foreign policy, and follow the

‘This shows how out of touch he is’

recent chorus of criticism over his associatio­ns with Islamic extremists.

Bin Laden became the world’s most wanted man following the attacks on September 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people when two jets hijacked by extremists from his Al Qaeda network were crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, another hit the Pentagon and one crashed in Pennsylvan­ia.

He was tracked down and shot dead in May 2011 at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. David Cameron and former Labour leader Ed Miliband praised the US forces for their achievemen­t and said the world was now a ‘safer place’.

But Mr Corbyn told Press TV’s The Agenda programme: ‘There was no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him and put him on trial, to go through that process. This was an assassinat­ion attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy.

‘The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanista­n was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died. Torture has come back on to the world stage … Can’t we learn some lessons from this?’

Presenter Yvonne Ridley, a controvers­ial critic of the West, mentioned reports of a drone strike on another senior Al Qaeda figure, Anwar al-Awlaki, the following day. Mr Corbyn replied: ‘Yes and the next stage will be an attempted assassinat­ion on Gaddafi and so it will go on.

‘This will just make the world more dangerous and worse and worse and worse. The solution has got to be law not war.’

He added: ‘I think everyone should be put on trial. I also profoundly disagree with the death penalty under any circumstan­ces for anybody.’ Kevan Jones, Labour’s defence spokesman, said: ‘This just shows you how out of touch he is with what most people’s views are.’

Nadhim Zahawi, a Conservati­ve MP on the Commons foreign affairs select committee, said: ‘Osama bin Laden was a terrorist who any sensible human being in the world would want either killed or arrested. For him to call this a tragedy and appear to compare it to what happened on 9/11 is frightenin­g.’

Alan Mendoza, deputy director of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said the comments ‘betray a complete lack of understand­ing of the conditions in which an extremely difficult military mission was undertaken’.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: ‘Jeremy is a total opponent of Al Qaeda, all it stands for.’

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