Osama bin Laden is dead, President Barack Obama announced in a special television address to the nation from the White House just before midnight tonight, nearly ten years after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on 11 September 2001.
“Justice has been done,” Obama said in his speech.
Bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and the man behind the attacks in New York and Washington which claimed nearly 3000 lives, died after U.S. Special Forces found him and his family in a house deep in Pakistan, in the town of Abbottabad near the capital Islamabad, and after a brief fire exchange shot him to death. His body is now in U.S. possession. No U.S. soldier was injured in the attack.
Obama said that U.S. intelligence sources received a lead on bin Laden’s whereabouts in August last year and special troops have been closing in on him ever since. According to press reports tonight, the president ordered the attack last Friday.
Obama also said that this is not the end of the fight against terrorism. He said we must continue to be on our guard, stressing that this is not a war against Islam, but a war against al Qaeda which has killed many Muslims.
The news was greeted with great joy, satisfaction, and relief not only in the White House but across America. Outside the White House here in Washington a crowd gathered around midnight, waving American flags and singing the national anthem.
Bin Laden’s death ends a chapter in the war against terrorism,a war that led to the U.S. attacks on Al Qaeda and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and then to the invasion of Iraq. It now remains to be seen what repercussions bin Laden’s death could have on the overall fight against terrorism. The state of alert has been raised around the country and on military bases and U.S. embassies around the world.