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U.S. Kills bin Laden in Intelligence-driven Operation

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2011 – An intelligence-driven U.S. operation in Pakistan killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden yesterday, President Barack Obama announced in a nationally televised address from the White House late last night.

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” Obama said. “A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability.

“No Americans were harmed,” he continued. “They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

Obama noted that bin Laden had been al-Qaida’s leader and symbol for more than 20 years and continued to plot attacks against the United States and its allies.

“The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaida, yet his death does not mark the end of our effort,” Obama said. “There is no doubt that al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must, and we will, remain vigilant at home and abroad.”

The president revealed that shortly after taking office in January 2009, he ordered CIA Director Leon E. Panetta to make bin Laden’s death or capture the top priority of the U.S. war against the al-Qaida terrorist organization.

“Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground,” he said. The president said he met repeatedly with his national security team as information developed indicating bin Laden was at a compound in Pakistan, and that last week he determined enough information was available and authorized the operation.

The president emphasized that the war against al-Qaida is not a war against Islam.

“Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader,” he said. “He was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al-Qaida has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.”

Counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped in finding bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding, the president said.

“Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people. Tonight, I called [Pakistani] President [Asif Ali] Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations, and going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al-Qaida and its affiliates.”

The president praised those who worked to find bin Laden and those who carried out the operation that killed him.

“Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome,” he said. “The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

“We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation,” he continued, “for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.”

Former President George W. Bush released a statement after he received a call from Obama:

"Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden the leader of the al Qaida network that attacked America on September 11, 2001.  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. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message:  No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."


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Related Sites:
Transcript: Obama Remarks

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Obama Declares 'Justice Has Been Done'


Article is closed to new comments.

The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

5/3/2011 11:33:22 PM
Justice HAS been done and it has been done in the correct way. that person was an evil man. Thank you President Obama and thank you members of the CIA and Navy SEALS. You carried out your mission wonderfully!
- Ed , Chicago, IL

5/3/2011 11:29:08 PM
Good job! Congratulations to US and the world!
- Naxi Chau, Viet Nam

5/3/2011 10:28:06 AM
Felicidades, muy buen trabajo. Levanto mi copa para brindar por la memoria de todos aquellos que han caido para lograr este triunfo. Thank.
- Eduardo Aleix Batiste, Sevilla (Spain)

5/3/2011 8:15:50 AM
Congratulations to President Obama and all our service men and women, and to our intelligence community for a job well done. It was entirely appropriate that the last thing UBL saw on this earth was Americans coming to serve justice.
- David Nelson, Marshalltown, Iowa

5/3/2011 12:19:49 AM
Justice is done.....
- Sashika Gamage, Sri Lanka

5/2/2011 11:18:08 PM
I would like to gratulate you. You have the best intelligence and military personnel in the world. I hate killing but I feel better when that stupid man is no more alive. It was a victorious day for US and for all of us in Europe too. You made the World safer. I feel proud to be a part of Western civilisation. I am proud on US. Thanks
- Peter, Slovak Republic Europe

5/2/2011 7:03:29 PM
- Lynn Skiles, Dayton, TN

5/2/2011 5:30:18 PM
Thanks to the intelligence services for their work for world peace, he continued happiness.
- Luis Herrera, Mexico

5/2/2011 4:22:26 PM
Thank you from Italy Well done !!!
- ivan, Italy

5/2/2011 3:58:18 PM
Well done team! That means eveyone. Doube tap, one for effect, one for insurance. it works.
- michael anderson a disabled vet, FC Colorado

5/2/2011 12:58:59 PM
May his death bring closure to all that have been touched by his evil way. J. Jewell USN Retired
- Jan Jewell, Canada

5/2/2011 11:26:05 AM
Very good Work!
- P.B., Switzerland

5/2/2011 10:09:08 AM
Good Work Mr. President....Justice for ALL!
- W Pask, Tampa Florida

5/2/2011 8:50:29 AM
Well Done, Thanks to all the professional Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard folks who have carried the torch, bore the burdens and continue to serve with honor. We have the best military ever assembled in the history of the world. Dan
- Dan Packard, chicago

5/2/2011 8:15:58 AM
I've never felt so proud to have served. Today is a good day!
- Dan, Pennsylvania

5/2/2011 7:39:59 AM
This is an extra ordinary news that,world's dreaded & dangerous leader of terrorist Osama Bin Laden was killed by world's finest military and leader of USA. My heartfelt thanks goes to US President Barak Obama,CIA,FBI and Pentagon. Secretary of States Mrs. Clinton,Secretary of Defense and Intelligence wings. American military,special forces and marines had done a lovely and wonderful job to kill the nastiest creature of the world. THANK YOU UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Justice has been done in the correct way. May God bless America,her Constitution and people. Bravo. Sincerely yours. David Ghosh
- David Ghosh, India

5/2/2011 2:30:40 AM
Finally, a door closes on a horrid part of American history. Thank you to those who provided this finality to those who have lost so much. And, please continue to protect us from those threats we face and those we are not even aware of.
- Alex Gaia, Nashville, TN

5/2/2011 1:57:34 AM
The Death Of Osama Bin Laden Is An Significant Victory In the Ten Plus Years That Followed Al Qaeda's Attack On America On September 11th 2001 Which Is Beneficial To The United States And The World Community At Large.And Most Importantly This Is An True Testiment To All Of The Hard Work Of Both THe Military And Intelligenge Community From The Start To Currently Day By Day That Was Directly Responsible For Such A Great Victory Such As Exiling Osama Bin Laden.To Hell.My Deepest And Most Heartfelt Appreciation And Thanks To Our Military And Intelligence For Such Invaluable Service To Their Country.And Fellow Americans God Bless Each And Every One Of You And God Bless America.
- James Hay, Louisiana

5/2/2011 1:09:07 AM
- LTC Mark D. Marek, Tampa FL

5/2/2011 1:06:03 AM
Thank you. Blessed be the peace-makers.
- James Richardson, Mesa, AZ

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