Sunday, May 8, 2011

Curiosity Seekers Flock to Bin Laden Compound

USA Today: Since the Al-Qaeda kingpin was killed Monday, followers and everyday curiosity seekers have flocked to the residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he hid away until he was tracked down.

Newspapers including The Times of India and The Sydney Morning Herald are citing unnamed sources in Pakistan who say the compound faces the wrecking ball so that it won't become a shine or, as the Herald says, "a rallying point for extremists." No official announcement had been made as of Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Hasnat Ahmed, a 22-year-old engineering graduate who lives near the compound, told the Herald that crowds of onlookers are getting bigger every day and that "we are not sure about international tourism yet, but I think we will be getting plenty of people from Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi." While the compound's gates remained closed, rubberneckers can walk around it and many are taking souvenir photographs.

Britain's Daily Mail reports that some want to turn the compound into "an official tourist site." Abbottabad resident Ali Abbas, 43, has started a drive to do that, told the newspaper that more visitors could follow from Europe and the USA.

"Westerners are crazy people," he said. "Even if locals turn up or not, foreigners will definitely come if it is declared a tourist site. It will be very good for the city. People should visit and see where the world's biggest terrorist lived."

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