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Obama made bin Laden a martyr - Swiss minister

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12:33 CEST+02:00

Swiss Defence Minister Ueli Maurer has criticised President Barack Obama's announcement of Osama bin Laden's killing, claiming in a press interview on Sunday that it raised the Al-Qaeda leader's status.

"It is problematic for me when a president announces this news. That way he raises a terrorist to the same level as himself," Maurer was quoted as saying in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag.

"That really turns bin Laden into a martyr," he added, saying that the death should have been announced by a spokesman or in written form.

Maurer, a member of the hard right Swiss People's Party, claimed the announcement was good for Obama's election campaign but elevated a terrorist organisation to virtually the same level as the most powerful state in the world.

"A US President should not announce that," he said, warning that it would motivate terror groups to fight on.

Obama announced in a nationwide television address late Sunday that bin Laden was killed by US special forces in a raid on a hideout in Pakistan.

The United States had been hunting for the mastermind of the September 11 attacks by hijacked airliners on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon, which killed 3,000 people, for a decade.

World leaders have welcomed the news of bin Laden's killing but warned of the possibility of reprisal attacks.

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