Monday, May 2, 2011

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Osama Bin Laden is dead, President Obama announced Sunday night, in a televised address to the nation. His death was the result of a U.S. operation launched today in Abbottabad, Pakistan, against a compound where bin Laden was believed to be hiding, according to U.S. intelligence. After a firefight, a small team of American forces killed bin Laden and took possession of his body, the president said.Osama bin Laden is dead. This is not a hoax. The world’s most notorious terrorist has been killed by U.S. military forces, according to breaking news reports.

The mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the leader of Al Qaeda was reportedly shot in the head in Afghanistan and his body is in U.S. hands.

Bin Laden is believed to have been taken down by U.S. assets in a mansion outside Islamabad, Pakistan, along with other members of his family, officials say.

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Osama bin Laden was killed in a helicopter raid on a mansion in an area north of the Pakistani capital, U.S. and Pakistani officials said Monday.

Four helicopters launched the attack in the Bilal area of Abbottabad, about 100 kilometers north of Islamabad, said a Pakistani intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information. One of the helicopters crashed after it apparently was hit by fire from the ground, the official said. He gave no word on casualties.

Announcing the operation in a televised statement in Washington, President Barack Obama said the operation took place Sunday.

The news that bin Laden was killed close to Islamabad will raise questions of how he managed to evade capture and how long he had been there. Most U.S. intelligence assessments had placed him along the lawless border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Declaring “justice has been done,” President Obama announced late Sunday that Usama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan, marking the end of the worldwide manhunt that began nearly a decade ago on Sept. 11, 2001.
The president made the stunning announcement within hours of informing congressional leaders. He said bin Laden was killed Sunday, the culmination of years of intelligence gathering. The news drew a large crowd to the front of the White House, as well as in Times Square, as people chanted “USA. USA.”

Obama, in his address to the nation shortly before midnight, thanked the Americans who have toiled in pursuit of bin Laden and applauded those who carried out the successful mission in Pakistan. Describing that mission only briefly, he said its result “is a testament to the greatness of our country.”
“For over two decades, bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol,” Obama said. “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda.”

The president traced the death of bin Laden to a tip received last August. He said he was briefed at the time on the “possible lead,” and that after months of intelligence work it was determined bin Laden was hiding in a compound “deep” inside Pakistan. Obama said, after determining the intelligence was sound, he authorized the operation to bring him to justice last week.
“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,” Bush said. “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”

Clinton, who was president when the first World Trade Center bombing occurred in 1993, issued a statement calling bin Laden’s death “a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaida’s other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and cooperation for our children.”
In a conference call with reporters just after President Obama spoke, senior administration officials provided a detailed sketch of how the intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts was gathered.

Intelligence officials had been conducting lengthy reconnaissance work prior to receiving their key tip in August. According to senior administration officials, suspected terrorists in custody since 9/11 -- including the attack’s mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- identified a courier who had a close relationship with bin Laden.
Osama Bin Laden Dead

“This man was one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden,” one senior administration official said. “They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden. But for years we were unable to identify his true name or his location. Four years ago we uncovered his identity… About two years ago, after months of persistent effort, we identified areas of Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. Still, we were unable to pinpoint exactly where they lived due to extensive operational security on their part. The fact that they were being so careful reinforced our belief that we were on the right track.”

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