Osama bin Laden Killed: ‘Justice Is Done,’ President Says
By DEAN SCHABNER and KAREN TRAVERS, ABC News, 1 May 2011
Killed ... Osama Bin Laden (left) to the delight of US crowds at White House (right)

Killed … Osama Bin Laden (left) to the delight of US crowds at White House (right)

Osama bin Laden, hunted as the mastermind behind the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, has been killed, President Obama announced tonight.

The president called the killing of bin Laden the “most significant achievement to date” in the effort to defeat al Qaeda.

“Justice has been done,” Obama said.

Bin Laden was located at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which was monitored and when the time was determined to be right, the president said, he authorized a “targeted operation.”

“A small team of Americans carried out the operation,” Obama said. “After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

DNA testing confirmed that it was bin Laden, sources told ABC News.

Obama said tonight that he was briefed last August on a possible but “far from certain” lead to bin Laden, but it took many months for the intelligence community to “run this thread to ground.”

“I met repeatedly with my National Security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located Bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan,” the president said.

“Finally, last week I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama Bin Laden and bring him to justice,” he said.

Sources said the attack was carried out by Joint Special Operations Command forces working with the CIA.

Vice President Biden briefed Republican congressional leaders this evening on the operation, which had been kept secret until shortly before the president’s announcement tonight.

Former President George W. Bush said in a statement tonight that Obama called him to inform him of the news of bin Laden’s death.

Bush called the operation a “momentous achievement” that “marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.

“I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude,” the former president said in a statement. “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”

Outside the White House, a crowd of about 200 people has gathered with American flags. They are singing the Star Spangled banner and chanting “USA USA”

This major development in the war on terror comes just days after Obama announced significant changes to his national security team.

Last week the president announced that CIA Director Leon Panetta will replace Secretary of Defense Robert Gates when he retires this summer. Gen. David Petraeus, the nation’s most high-profile soldier, will become the head of the CIA.

In addition to overseeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Petraeus, a four-star general, is the head of the U.S. Central Command, where his portfolio includes some of the world’s most critical hotspots, including Yemen and Pakistan.

Bin Laden’s death brings to an end a tumultuous life that saw him go from being the carefree son of a Saudi billionaire, to terrorist leader and the most wanted man in the world.

Bin Laden created and funded the al Qaeda terror network, which was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. The Saudi exile had been a man on the run since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan overthrew the ruling Taliban regime, which harbored bin Laden.

In a video filmed two months after the Sept. 11 attacks, bin Laden gloated about the attack, saying it had exceeded even his “optimistic” calculations.

“Our terrorism is against America. Our terrorism is a blessed terrorism to prevent the unjust person from committing injustice and to stop American support for Israel, which kills our sons,” he said in the video.

Long before the Sept. 11 attacks, bin Laden was known as an enemy of the United States. He was suspected of playing large roles in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. Embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in October 2000.

In addition, authorities say bin Laden and his al Qaeda network were involved in previous attacks against U.S. interests — including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, failed plots to kill President Clinton and the pope, and attacks on U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and Somalia.

Bin Laden also used his millions to bankroll terrorist training camps in Sudan, the Philippines and Afghanistan, sending “holy warriors” to foment revolution and fight with fundamentalist Muslim forces across North Africa, in Chechnya, Tajikistan and Bosnia.

Until the capture of one of his top al Qaeda lieutenants in March 2003, there had been no confirmation of his whereabouts — or even that he was still alive — since late 2001, when he appeared in a series of videotapes later released to news organizations.

In recent years, several audio recordings of bin Laden have been authenticated by U.S. officials and made public. In an 18-minute videotape weeks before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, bin Laden threatened fresh attacks on the United States as well as his intent to push America into bankruptcy.

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Osama Bin Laden dead Terror chief shot by US special forces
By Neil Millard, The Sun, 2 May 2011

OSAMA Bin Laden has been killed during a dramatic raid by US special forces, President Barack Obama announced today.

The most wanted man on Earth was shot between the eyes as his wife cried out his name at a hideaway in Pakistan.

Al-Qaeda’s leader, 54, was tracked down to a fortified compound in a respectable neighbourhood 60 miles from the capital Islamabad.

Elite troops opened fire when the 9/11 terror chief refused to surrender, hitting him in the head and chest and also killing three others, one of whom was his son.

Bin Laden’s body was identified using DNA which was matched to samples taken from his late sister’s brain – and his corpse was later buried at sea.

President Obama revealed the news in a White House address saying: “Justice has been done”.

The first images to emerge of his bolthole showed a pool of blood under a bed and a massive hole in a wall where Navy Seals are thought to have blasted their way in.

Bin Laden – also responsible for the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 – was traced after a Guantanamo Bay captive helped CIA chiefs track down one of his trusted couriers.

Crashed ... military helicopter is seen near the hideout of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden
Crashed … military helicopter is seen near the hideout of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden

The final operation was over in just 40 minutes.

He was then buried at sea from the deck of a US aircraft carrier in the north Arabian Sea after being washed according to Islamic custom.

President Obama said: “I can report to the American people and the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.”

Thousands of jubilant Americans poured onto the streets of New York and Washington to celebrate the news.

Incredibly, after ten years on the run since the Twin Towers collapsed, Bin Laden was found holed up in a $1million pad in one of the country’s most desirable towns.

It had been believed the extremist was living in a mountain hideaway on the country’s border with Afghanistan.

Celebrating ... hundreds turned out at Ground Zero
Celebrating … hundreds turned out at Ground Zero

On fire ... bin Laden's compound ablaze last night
On fire … bin Laden’s compound ablaze last night

Two couriers and one of Bin Laden’s sons were killed in the assault. A woman being used as a human shield also died.

The terror chief’s custom-built retreat in Abbottabad was constructed in 2005. It is less than two hours from Pakistan’s capital and just a few hundred yards from the country’s own version of prestigious military academy Sandhurst.

An American helicopter crashed during a brief firefight at the complex involving Navy Seal Team Six, an elite counter-terrorism unit, and bin Laden’s body was carried away on foot.

The body of the al-Qaeda mastermind was buried at sea quickly – under Islamic custom the dead must be buried within 24 hours. It is understood the country of his birth, Saudi Arabia – which stripped him of citizenship – refused to take it.

When his sister died from brain cancer several years ago in Boston the FBI seized her body so they could later use it to identify the terror chief.

Aftermath ... blood-stained floor
Aftermath … blood-stained floor

Plans ... graphic showing the three-storey building behind a giant wall
Plans … graphic showing the three-storey building behind a giant wall

President Obama said in his White House address: “It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history.

“The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory.

“Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al-Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own.

Bedroom ... hole blasted through wall
Bedroom … hole blasted through wall

Aerial view ... the compound from above
Aerial view … the compound from above

“The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaeda.

“Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort.”

He had been told Bin Laden could be hiding out in the compound as long ago as August last year but it took eight months for intelligence officers to establish he was there for sure, before Mr Obama could be shown photographic evidence.

The terror chief had been on the run for so long the CIA had nicknamed him “Elvis” because there were so many far-fetched sightings reported. It is not known how long he had lived at the address.

United ... people on streets learn of news
United … people on streets learn of news

The size of the three-storey house was so much bigger than surrounding properties it stood out and locals were suspicious that they never put their rubbish out, preferring to burn it instead.

Bin Laden had been living behind walls 18ft high topped with razor wire. Couriers brought him everything he and his family needed to survive and there were no phone lines into the property.

Abbottabad is a major military town less than two hours from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad and was named after British Army major James Abbott who founded it in 1853.

Abbottabad Map

Just 10 days ago Pakistan’s army chief addressed army cadets at the nearby academy, saying the country’s military had broken the back of militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The final hunt for the Saudi-born extremist – shot in the head when he tried to flee – began when the CIA identified one of his couriers after a captive of Guantanamo Bay gave them his nickname around four years ago.

By January this year intelligence officials had identified the area they were living and realised they appeared to live in a house far larger than they could afford.

One of the four American helicopters used in the raid – which took just 40 minutes in total – crashed as gunmen opened fire from the roof of the compound.

A special CIA task force has been set up to analyse the huge amount of material recovered from the compound.

There were public displays of celebration as the news travelled round the world but radicals have already begun threatening revenge attacks. Supporters of Islamic party Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam Nazaryati took to the streets in Quetta, Pakistan, to voice their anger at the military operation that killed him.

In Washington crowds of Americans gathered in front of the White House as news broke that Mr Obama was about to announce a “major development” in the hunt for bin Laden.

In New York spontaneous rallies broke out at Ground Zero where the Towers fell.

Sign of the times ... Obama 1 Osama 0
Sign of the times … Obama 1 Osama 0

Tree cheers ... man dons stars and stripes to celebrate
Tree cheers … man dons stars and stripes to celebrate

Meanwhile UK and US embassies across the world were put on high alert.

President Obama said: “I can report to the American people and to the world that the US has conducted an operation that killed Osama Bin Laden.

“A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.”

Mr Obama spoke to former presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton before announcing bin Laden’s death.

It is a major accomplishment for Mr Obama and his national security team, after many Americans had given up hope of ever finding Bin Laden.

A crowd gathered outside the White House to celebrate, chanting “USA, USA.”

George W Bush had repeatedly vowed to bring bin Laden to justice “dead or alive” for the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, but never did before leaving office in early 2009.

Chanting crowd ... nation joins in celebration over Osama Bin Laden's death
Chanting crowd … nation joins in celebration over Osama Bin Laden’s death

Breaking news ... soldier watches news unfold in Afghanistan
Breaking news … soldier watches news unfold in Afghanistan

He had been the subject of a search since he eluded US soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan in 2001.

The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.

While in hiding, Bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his militant Islamist views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway.

Besides 9/11, Washington has also linked Bin Laden to a string of attacks — including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.

George W Bush said the death of the al Qaeda leader was a “momentous achievement”.

“The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron was informed by phone in the early hours of this morning and said news of Bin Laden’s death would “bring great relief to people across the world”.

He added: “It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror.”

But the father of a man killed in the September 11 attacks said it could not bring closure.

Attack ... al-Qaeda have been blamed for the 7/7 bombings
Attack … al-Qaeda have been blamed for the 7/7 bombings

Under attack ... the World Trade Centre on 9/11
Under attack … the World Trade Centre on 9/11

Nigel Thompson, who worked as a stockbroker with Cantor Fitzgerald, was 33 when he was killed after the first plane hit the North Tower.

Dad Norman, from Sheffield, said: “I’m pleased, definitely. It doesn’t bring our son back – we’ve lost him.

“It would bring justice, definitely, but certainly no closure.”

Douglas Eaton, whose son Robert was killed in the September 11 attack, said he feared it would spark more attacks.

“I had no particular feeling of euphoria,” he said.

“If it leads to more peace in the world, one can only applaud it, but my concern is that there could be more outbreaks of violence because of what has happened.

“That would be most unfortunate.

“It would appear that he has had plenty of support otherwise he wouldn’t have survived for so long.”

Witness Mohammad Idrees lives around 400m from the house and said residents were woken in the night by the sound of a large explosion.

He said: “We rushed to the rooftop and saw flames near that house. We also heard some gunshots.

“Soon after the blast, we saw military vehicles rushing to the site of the blast.”

Another resident, Nasir Khan, said commandos encircled the compound as three helicopters hovered overhead.

“All of a sudden there was firing towards the helicopters from the ground,” said Khan, who had watched the drama unfold from his rooftop.

“There was intense firing and then I saw one of the helicopters crash.”

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