By Michelle Nichols
TORONTO (Reuters) - A 22-nation survey released on Tuesday found three-quarters of those polled believed the United States was justified in killing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for his role in the September 11, 2001, attacks.
But the Ipsos poll of about 17,000 people -- conducted a week after bin Laden was shot on May 2 by U.S. forces who stormed his compound in Pakistan -- found that only 11 percent felt safer now that he was dead.
"What is especially surprising is that majorities in nearly every country believe that the U.S. was justified in its actions," said Darrell Bricker, chief executive officer of Ipsos Global Public Affairs.
The poll showed that countries that were part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan were among those with the highest approval rating, led by the United States with 95 percent, France and Britain with 87 percent and Australia, Belgium and Canada with 85 percent.
In other ISAF nations, Poland had 83 percent who felt the killing was justified, followed by Italy (81 percent), Hungary (79), Germany (76), Sweden (71), Turkey (71) and Spain (70).
There was 63 percent support in both South Korea, an ISAF member, and Japan, which has pledged billions of dollars in reconstruction aid to Afghanistan, the poll showed.
India's 95 percent support matched the United States' while Brazil had 77 percent, South Africa 76 percent and Russia 75 percent.
Two-thirds of Mexicans felt bin Laden's death was justified, along with 54 percent in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, and 45 percent in Argentina.
No Middle Eastern nations were polled.
Bin Laden's death came almost a decade after nearly 3,000 people were killed when al Qaeda hijackers crashed commercial planes into New York City's World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington and a field in Pennsylvania.
"Even the usual U.S. critics, like France, Germany and Russia are on side with what the U.S. did," Bricker said. "This is because terrorism has become a cross-national problem and the desire to stamp it out is now universal."
Fifteen percent of those polled said bin Laden's death will result in fewer al Qaeda attacks, while more than 40 percent said it will lead to more. Only 11 percent feel safe now bin Laden is dead and 26 percent feel less safe.
"The world's citizens recognize that killing one man won't eliminate terrorism. Terrorism was here before bin Laden and will be here long after him," Bricker said.
"In the U.S., this is as much about satisfying the sense of justice that Americans have as it is about the practical aspects of curbing terrorism."
The Ipsos online poll covered India, United States, France, Great Britain, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Poland, Italy, Hungary, Brazil, Germany, South Africa, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, Spain, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Argentina.
The survey had an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, Ipsos said.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Bill Trott)