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German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Merkel meant to say she was 'relieved' and not 'pleased'Image: dapd

Relieved, not pleased

May 7, 2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has revisited her "praise" of the killing of Osama bin Laden, after a German judge filed a criminal complaint against her for saying she was "glad" at his death.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "relieved" over the killing of Osama bin Laden in a correction of a previous statement she made saying she was "pleased" at the death of the al Qaeda founder.

"Bin Laden was the leader of an international terrorist network who sponsored monstrous crimes," Merkel told the daily Passauer Neue Presse in an interview published on Saturday, May 7. "We can and should be relieved he will no longer harm anyone."

Bin Laden, the architect of the 2001 attacks in Washington and New York, was gunned down on Monday by US operatives in a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, north of Islamabad.

After the announcement was made that bin Laden was dead, the German chancellor said: "I am pleased that it was possible to kill bin Laden."

Several figures in Germany distanced themselves from the comments, including some from within her own conservative party, the Christian Democrats (CDU).

Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann filed a criminal complaint against Merkel for "endorsing a crime," describing her comments as "disgraceful."

Afghanistan still unstable

Merkel meeting with Bundeswehr troops in Afghanistan
Merkel said troops must continue to fight terrorism

In the same interview, Merkel also defended the presence of German soldiers in Afghanistan amid ongoing debate on Germany's military role in the country.

"The death of bin Laden does not change the fact that Afghanistan is still unstable," Merkel said. "Our soldiers are there to prevent the country from becoming a terrorist base again resulting in risks to our safety."

According to a recent poll, just under 60 percent of Germans support a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Germany extended in January its military mission in Afghanistan by one year in cooperation with international forces, with the authorized maximum deployment of 5,350 troops.

Author: Gabriel Borrud (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Toma Tasovac

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