Nearly 10 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist group responsible for them, is dead.
The announcement made Sunday night by President Obama.
Bin Laden’s body is in the possession of U.S. forces the president said. U.S. personnel are responsible for his death.
“The United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda” Obama said.
Obama says he had directed CIA Director Leon Panetta to make the capture or killing of bin Laden the top priority.
The president said that, last August “I was briefed on a possible lead to Osama bin Laden” hiding within a compound inside Pakistan. Last week, following an extensive intelligence gathering operation, the president said he determined that there was enough information in hand so he authorized Sunday’s attack by a small group of U.S. military.
A firefight ensued when the U.S. troops attacked the compound, but, Obama said, no Americans were harmed, and efforts were taken to prevent civilian casualties.
After the firefight, Obama said, “they killed bin Laden and took custody of his body.
“His death,” the president added, “does not mark the end of our effort.” Al Qaeda, he said, remains a threat.
Obama reiterated that the war on terror is not a war with Islam, and noted that bin Laden was not a Muslim religious leader. “He was,” the president said, ” a mass murderer of Muslims” and Muslims, he said, should be happy about his demise.
While this was a U.S. operation within Pakistan, Obama said Pakistani intelligence agents “helped lead us to bin Laden.”
U.S. and Pakistani officials have been in contact, and, Obama says, the Pakistani government agrees that “this is a good and historic day for both of our nations.”
As Obama addressed the nation inside the White House, several hundred people gathered outside, chanting “USA! USA!”