With Osama bin Laden no longer the face of Al Qaeda, the question of his role as a leader springs to near the top of questions in the aftermath of Sunday's raid.
Bin Laden's death sent shockwaves throughout the world, and is seen as a major victory for the United States's war on terror, terrorist network Al Qaeda's operations may not be effected by the news.
According to Chris Hedges, a war correspondent who has covered Al Qaeda extensively, bin Laden had no operational role with the group, and all actual acts of terror, which he may have signed off on, he no way planned. Hedges described bin Laden more as a spiritual leader, while other experts confirmed bin Laden more as a figurehead, as well.
However, Al Qaeda is indeed affected by bin Laden's death.
He was very good at coming up with messages that would unify al Qaeda, said Paul Cruickshank, a CNN analyst for terrorism and an alumni fellow at the New York University's Center on Law and Security.
Now without bin Laden, they will likely lose some of that unity.
According to the Los Angeles Times, most attacks have come from affiliates of Al Qaeda, such the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a Yemen-based affiliate. In October, the group claimed responsibility for attempting to send bombs packed in toner cartridges aboard cargo planes bound for the United States.
Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism under George W. Bush, said that the death of bin Laden doesn't end the terrorist threat against the United States, and said there could be a spike of threats initially, and there are other elements of the al Qaeda network who remain dangerous.
Former CIA bin Laden unit chief Michael Scheuer said the next generation of Al Qaeda will be more vicious and more educated.