Al-Qaeda has confirmed the death of Osama bin Laden and vowed to avenge his killing by U.S. forces.
U.S. President Barack Obama has meanwhile declared that the terrorist group will eventually succumb to measures to destroy it.
Obama delivered his message during a visit May 6 to Fort Campbell, in the southern state of Kentucky, where he personally thanked the commandos who raided bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2.
The commandos are thought to be from Team Six, the most elite unit of a larger group of specialized soldiers known as the SEALs, an acronym that stands for Sea, Air, and Land -- the three theaters of their operations.
Obama also met with members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the highly specialized army unit that transported the commandos who carried out the raid.
Addressing a crowd of soldiers afterward, Obama said he told the raid team that they had honored America's promise to remember the September 11, 2001, attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
"I had the privilege of meeting the extraordinary special ops -- the folks who honored that promise,” said Obama. “There was a chance for me say on behalf of all Americans and people around the world, 'Job well done.' 'Job well done.'"
Obama said the team had "practiced tirelessly" for what he called "one of the greatest intelligence and military operations in our nation's history."
"We're making progress in our major goal -- our central goal -- in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that is disrupting and dismantling and we are ultimately going to defeat Al-Qaeda,” the president said, adding: “We have cut off their head and we will ultimately defeat them."
The crowd Obama was addressing included a number of combat teams that recently returned from Afghanistan.
The president their efforts had help to put "Al-Qaeda's leadership under more pressure than any time since 9/11," helping to set the stage for the transition of security responsibility for the country into Afghan hands.
Al-Qaeda Vows Revenge
In its message, posted on jihadist websites, Al-Qaeda said bin Laden's blood would not be "wasted," and vowed to continue targeting the United States and its allies.
Bin Laden, the message said, had founded a "university of faith, Koran, and jihad" that "will not close its doors."
The statement, which was the first issued by Al-Qaeda since the U.S. raid on bin Laden's Pakistan compound, was dated May 3 but posted online on May 6.
It could not be independently verified as authentic, but U.S. officials said they had been expecting a message from the group and were working to analyze it.
The statement also said that an audio message bin Laden recorded a week before he was killed would be issued soon.
Confirmation of the Al-Qaeda leader's death sets the stage for the group to name a successor, which analysts say is likely to be bin Laden's deputy, Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahri.
Zawahri now sits atop the United States' most wanted terrorist list, with a $25 million reward offered for information leading to his capture.
He is believed to be behind the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other Al-Qaeda plots, and just as bin Laden was, is thought be hiding in Pakistan.
In response to Al-Qaeda's threat of new attacks, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters: "We're quite aware of the potential for activity and are highly vigilant on that matter for that reason."
U.S. analysts poring through the thousands of electronic and paper files confiscated in the raid on bin Laden's Abottabad hideout say they have discovered an Al-Qaeda plans to target U.S. railways on September 11 of this year, the tenth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
written by Richard Solash, with agency reports