Osama bin Laden, the elusive mastermind behind the devastating September 11, 2001, terror attacks that led the United States into war in Afghanistan and later Iraq, was killed in a firefight, President Barack Obama said Sunday.
Bin Laden's death at a compound in Pakistan ended the world's most widely-watched manhunt, and jubilant crowds gathered outside the White House and at ground zero in New York as word spread late at night.
“Justice has been done,'' the President said.
The US State Department also put a worldwide alert shortly after President Barack Obama announced bin Laden's death in a military operation.
Obama said a small team of Americans killed bin Laden early Sunday in the town of Abbottabat, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of the capital Islamabad, U.S., Pakistani officials said. The team took custody of his remains and American officials said they were being handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.
Three adult males were also killed in Sunday's raid, including one of bin Laden's sons, whom officials did not name. One of bin Laden's sons, Hamza, is a senior member of al-Qaeda.
The death of the worlds's most-wanted man came just months before the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon, orchestrated by bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization, that killed more than 3,000 people.
Former President George W. Bush, who was in office on the day of the attacks, issued a written statement hailing bin Laden's death as a momentous achievement.
“The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,'' Bush said.
World's most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan - Videos for osama bin laden dead.
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