Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was killed in an operation led by U.S. forces, President Barack Obama confirmed Sunday night.
In a late-night statement from the White House, Obama said that a team of Americans killed bin Laden in a compound in Pakistan.
"Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort," said the president. "We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and Al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of Al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot."
Added the president: "Justice has been done."
Bin Laden was killed in a helicopter raid on a mansion in an area north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, officials said Monday. The fact that the Al Qaeda leader was killed close to Islamabad will likely raise questions of how he managed to evade capture for so many years.
George W. Bush, who was president on the day of the attacks, congratulated Obama, and in a written statement 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."
The news comes just a few months before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. The attacks set off a chain event of attacks that led the U.S. into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the wake of bin Laden’s death, the State Department has put U.S. embassies on alert and is warning Americans abroad of possible reprisal attacks from Al Qaeda and its affiliates around the world after the killing of the group's leader Osama bin Laden by American forces in Pakistan, writes the Associated Press.
The State Department said there was an "enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counterterrorism activity in Pakistan."
(Photo: AP Photo/Al Jazeera, File)