U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that the world’s most wanted terrorist, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, was killed by U.S. forces Sunday during a firefight at a compound deep inside Pakistan.
Mr. Obama made the announcement during a live nationwide television address at the White House Sunday night.
This development comes nearly 10 years after the catastrophic attacks by al-Qaida operatives on the United States on September 11, 2001.
U.S. forces have been hunting the Saudi terrorist kingpin ever since. Sunday’s action was conducted in Abbotabad, in the Hazara area on the edge of Punjab.
Mr. Obama said bin Laden was not a Muslim leader, but a “mass murderer of Muslims.” The president said bin Laden was located with the help of Pakistani intelligence, and that he authorized the operation after months of pursuing an intelligence lead.
Mr. Obama called the operation the most significant achievement in the mission to defeat al-Qaida, and said bin Laden’s demise should be welcomed by all those who believe in peace and human dignity. The president said “justice has been done.”
Former U.S. president George W. Bush called bin Laden’s death a “momentous achievement” that marks a victory for America. Mr. Bush, who was president during the 2001 terror attacks, said in a statement Sunday that America has sent “an unmistakable message” that justice will be done.
Former president Bill Clinton also issued a statement Sunday congratulating Mr. Obama and members of the U.S. armed forces. He said it was a “profoundly important moment” for the families of those killed in the September 11 attacks, and for those around the world who want to build a future of peace and freedom.
Mr. Obama said he spoke by telephone with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, and that Sunday was a good and historic day for both nations.
President Obama said there is “no doubt” al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks, and he said the U.S. must remain vigilant at home and abroad.
The U.S. State Department has issued an alert warning of “enhanced potential for anti-American violence” following bin Laden’s death. voa