Osama killed in Pakistan, justice done: Obama (Fourth Lead)May 2nd, 2011 - 1:41 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, May 2 (IANS) The world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, has been killed in Pakistan, ending a 10-year manhunt that intensified with the traumatic Sep 11, 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon.
“Justice has been done,” declared US President Barack Obama from the East Room of the White House describing how American military and CIA operatives finally cornered the Al Qaeda leader in Abbottabad, just 50 km northeast of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.
“For over two decades, bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol,” Obama said on television shortly before midnight Sunday as cheering crowds gathered outside the gates of the White House waving American flags and chanting “USA! USA!”.
In New York, crowds sang the Star-Spangled Banner.
“The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort,” Obama said. “We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”
As Obama announced Sunday, a small team of US operatives launched a “targeted assault” on a compound in Abbottabad, where months of painstaking intelligence work established that bin Laden was living.
Finally last week, Obama said he determined that intelligence was clear enough to authorise a secret operation in Pakistan.
Obama said: “They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
Bin Laden was shot in the head during the US raid, CNN said citing a Congressional source familiar with the operation.
“No Americans were harmed,” President Obama said.
He also made clear in his remarks at the White House Sunday evening that the US still faces significant national security threats.
“His death does not mark the end of our effort,” Obama said. “There’s no doubt that Al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”
Osama had been implicated in a series of deadly, high-profile attacks that had grown in their intensity and success during the 1990s.
He eluded capture for years, once reportedly slipping out of a training camp in Afghanistan just hours before a barrage of US cruise missiles destroyed it, CNN said.
Osama bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia in 1957, the 17th of 52 children in a family that had struck it rich in the construction business.
His father, Mohamed bin Laden, was a native of Yemen who immigrated to Saudi Arabia as a child. He became a billionaire by building his company into the largest construction firm in the Saudi kingdom.
Osama’s killing ended a major 10-year manhunt ordered by Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush six days after the 9/11 attack.
“I want justice,” Bush had said. “There’s an old poster out West that said, ‘Wanted, dead or alive’.”
On Sunday night, his successor President Barack Obama appeared in the East Room of the White House to declare that “justice has been done”.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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