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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.
“Tonight I can report to the American people and the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said during brief remarks at the White House.
“Justice has been done,” he said, in comments that marked a formal end of the manhunt for the most visible and emotionally-charged symbol of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The president said U.S. intelligence operatives received a tip in August on bin Laden’s whereabouts, which ultimately led to Sunday’s attack. Obama said he determined last week that the U.S. had enough reliable information to take action; by Sunday morning, he had authorized “a small team of Americans” to conduct an operation targeting bin Laden.
“After a fire fight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body,” the president said. “No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.”
Obama said the 9/11 attacks that bin Laden and his lieutenants orchestrated nearly 10 years ago remain “the worst attack on the American people in our history” and said the images of the crumbling Twin Towers “are seared into our national memory.”
The president emphasized that Americans “did not choose this fight” against al Qaeda, but rather, “it came to our shores.” He praised U.S. military and intelligence professionals for working “tirelessly to achieve this outcome.” To the families of 9/11 victims, he noted that the U.S. has “never forgotten your loss.”
“Tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11,” Obama said. “I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.”
Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had targeted bin Laden during their presidencies, and both had failed to either capture him or kill him. The failure to snare bin Laden weighed most heavily, perhaps, on the Bush Administration, which occupied the White House during the 9/11 attacks, and the al Qaeda leader’s killing falls exactly eight years to the day when Bush famously declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.
Bush said in a statement that Obama called him Sunday night to inform him of “the momentous achievement” of bin Laden’s death.
“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.”
Original Source – Huffington Post