Updated from 9:13 a.m. EDT
NEW YORK (
) -- Al Qaeda confirmed Friday that Osama Bin Laden was killed in Sunday's raid and the terrorist network threatened the U.S. with retaliation, according to reports.
"We stress that the blood of the holy warrior sheik, Osama Bin Laden, God bless him, is precious to us and to all Muslims and will not go in vain," a statement posted on militant web sites on May 3 said,
The Associated Press
reported. "We will remain, God willing, a curse chasing the Americans and their agents, following them outside and inside their countries."
The statement also called on the people of Pakistan -- "where Sheik Osama was killed" -- to revolt against its leaders.
"Soon, God willing, their happiness will turn to sadness," the statement said, likely referring to those who killed Bin Laden, "their blood will be mingled with their tears."
The statement, posted on Web sites on which the group usually puts out its messages, was signed by "the general leadership" of al Qaeda.
The statement was the first by the terror network since Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Sunday night. The statement's authenticity couldn't be independently confirmed.
The Internet statement added that Bin Laden recorded an audio message about a week before his death. The network plans to
Bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, is now considered the most prominent figure in the group and is a very likely contender to be named a successor to Bin Laden, according to
In a recent interview with Wolf Blitzer on
"The Situation Room," Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers said that the U.S. could be getting closer to finding al-Zawahiri.
"We have lots of information on him," Rogers said. "I do believe we're hot on the trail."
Before Bin Laden was killed, he was apparently planning to launch another terrorist attack in the United States, according to materials gathered by U.S. Navy SEALs in Sunday night's raid. The materials showed al Qaeda's plans to derail an American train on the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In the raid, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs were able to collect a large amount of hardware from the compound, including 10 hard drives, five computers and more than 100 storage devices.
Intelligence analysts have spent the past week translating and scrutinizing the materials. Investigators found that hard drives contained key information about the al Qaeda network, including plans for a future terrorist attack.
The confiscated materials and documents reveal that the al Qaeda network had been planning the rail attack since at least February 2010.
A handwritten note outlined the intention to tamper with an unspecified U.S. rail track so that a train would fall off the track at a valley or a bridge.
Counterterrorism officials said they believe the pending plot was only in the initial stages of planning, and there is no recent intelligence about any active plan for such an attack,
"This alleged al Qaeda plotting is based on initial reporting, which is often misleading or inaccurate and subject to change," Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler said.
The government has no plans to issue an official terror alert from the findings, but the FBI and Homeland Security issued an intelligence bulletin on Thursday outlining details of the plan to law enforcement across the nation.
"While it is clear that there was some level of planning for this type of operation in February 2010, we have no recent information to indicate an active ongoing plot to target transportation and no information on possible locations or specific targets," the warning said.
Other information revealed from the materials included a "terrorist wish list,"
reported, but hasn't revealed any specific plan so far.
As investigators continue to mine through the confiscated materials, local transportation officials have been on higher alert.
Counterterrorism officials have been meeting regularly since Bin Laden was killed to evaluate the threat to the U.S.
Earlier this week, Obama said the White House won't release any
Obama said that he and his administration decided not to release any photos in order to avoid inciting any additional terrorist violence. The president told "60 Minutes" that he believed the graphic image could "create some national security risk."
The government had been considering releasing an image of Bin Laden's dead body to further confirm his death, following reports of skepticism from around the world. However, U.S. officials ultimately decided to hold onto the photos to avoid igniting anti-American sentiment.
-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.
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