September 19, 2017

President Obama announces death of Osama Bin Laden in firefight with US military

President Obama says "Justice has been done".

Osama bin Laden is dead and his body has been recovered by US authorities, US President Barack Obama has confirmed.

Obama made the dramatic announcement in a hastily called, late-night appearance Sunday at the White House.

Obama said last week he determined the US had enough evidence to launch an operation against a compound where bin Laden was believed to be hiding in Pakistan.

A small team of US soldiers landed in the compound and after a firefight killed bin Laden. They had his body.

He said Pakistan’s help was essential in leading the US to bin Laden.

Obama said bin Laden’s demise should be welcomed by all who believed in peace and human dignity.

The US was not at war with Islam, but terrorists.

Obama said the images of 9/11 were “seared into our national memory” but the worst images were those that were unseen to the world.

He said nearly 3000 citizens were “taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.”

CNN reported that bin Laden had been killed by the US in a mansion outside Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital.

DNA tests are believed to have confirmed bin Laden’s death, although it was not immediately clear how he had been killed.

Crowds gathered outside the White House before Obama’s announcement, cheering and singing the national anthem. There are now thousands of people and the numbers are growing.

It is a major accomplishment for Obama and his national security team. Obama’s predecessor, George W Bush, had repeatedly vowed to bring to justice the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, but never did before leaving office in early 2009.

US officials said that after searching in vain for the al Qaeda leader since he disappeared in Afghanistan in late 2001, the Saudi-born extremist was dead and his body had been recovered.

He had been the subject of a search since he eluded US soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains in 2001. The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.

While in hiding, bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his militant Islamist views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway.

Besides September 11, Washington has also linked bin Laden to a string of attacks – including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.