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Christians should not rejoice at death of Osama bin Laden, says Vatican spokesman

New Yorkers celebrate news of Bin Laden's death at Ground Zero in the early hours of the morning (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

Christians should never rejoice at the death of a man, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi has said following the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan yesterday.

The world’s most wanted man was killed by US forces at a compound in Abbottabad, north-west Pakistan, following a tip-off dating back to last August. In a special press conference in Washington last night at 10.30 (3.30AM GMT) President Barack Obama announced that the Saudi-born fugitive, responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States which killed 3,000 people, was dead. “Justice has been done,” the US president said.

But Fr Federico Lombardi said in a statement this morning in Rome that we should not rejoice at the death of a human being.

He said: “Osama bin Laden – as we all know – was gravely responsible for promoting division and hatred between peoples, causing the end of countless innocent lives, and of exploiting religions to this end.

“Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of each and every one of us before God and before man, and hopes and commits himself so that no event be an opportunity for further growth of hatred, but for peace.”

Earlier today Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news, saying: “The news that Osama Bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world.”