In an address to the nation at approximately 11:30 PM EST, President Barack Obama officially announced the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda and mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Senior White House officials told multiple news outlets that bin Laden was killed after a firefight in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan and that US forces are in possession of the body.
“Shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the capture or killing of Osama Bin Laden the highest priority of the war on terror,” President Obama said during his address.
CNN reported that President Obama authorized the CIA to capture bin-Laden while the rest of the world was watching the British royal wedding on Friday – a decision that was the culmination of three weeks of secret national security meetings.
“I met repeatedly with my national security team and finally last week, we had enough intelligence determined we enought information to authorize action and so I authorized an operaton to get Bin Laden,” President Obama said.
Countless people arrived at the White House late Sunday night, chanted, “USA! USA!”, proudly waved the American flag, and loudly sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” The scene was similar at the site of the 9/11 attacks in lower Manhattan.
bin Laden’s assasination leaves U.S. diplomatic facilites on high alert and the U.S. State Department calls for a new “worldwide caution” due to fear of retaliation from al-Qaeda.
Manual students expressed satisfaction and pride after the end of the 10-year search for bin Laden.
“I’m beyond happy. It’s that patriotic feeling that only comes after something like this,” Tara Steiden (10) said. “It reminds you that no matter who you are, and what drama is going on in your life, at the end of the day, we are one nation, and we are all on the same boat.”
“Although I would have much rather seen him go to trial to face just a fraction of the hurt and suffering he has caused countless others, having him suffering for eternity is good too,” Jody Dahmer (10) said.
With the death of bin-Laden, Operation Enduring Freedom still rages on.
“I want to see what progress can come from this,” Rachel Niel (12) said.
President Obama’s statement can be seen in its entirety on the White House web site.