WASHINGTON // Osama Bin Laden, the founder of al Qa’eda, has been killed by US forces, 10 years after the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that were carried out under his direction.
Bin Laden was killed during a US ground forces operation that targeted his compound in Abadabad, Pakistan. His body has been taken into US custody.
Quoting an unnamed senior Obama administration official, the Reuters news agency reported that three people besides bin Laden were killed in the attack, including one of the al Qa’eda leader's adult son.
No American forces were killed in the operation.
Speaking late on Sunday night to the American people, Barack Obama, the US president said, “Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”
Large crowds of Americans gathered around the West gate of the White House late Sunday night, and into early Monday morning, in exuberance over the death of Mr Bin Laden. They chanted, “Obama got Osama.”
Last August the US government received intelligence that allowed it to focus in on the Abadabad compound, and yesterday, after months of intelligence gathering, Mr Obama gave the order for US forces to attack the compound.
“Tonight we can say... Justice has been done,” Mr Obama said.
The death of al Qa’eda’s leader comes just months before the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that killed more than 3,000 people. The attacks set off a chain of events that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and America’s entire intelligence apparatus was overhauled to counter the threat of more terror attacks at home.
Al Qa’eda was also blamed for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 231 people and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in Yemen, as well as countless other plots, some successful and some foiled.