Osama Bin Laden Killed
Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was slain in his luxury hideout in Pakistan early Monday in a firefight with U.S. forces, ending a manhunt that spanned a frustrating decade.
A U.S. official says Osama bin Laden went down firing at the Navy SEALs who stormed his compound. An official familiar with the operation says bin Laden was hit by a barrage of carefully aimed return fire. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because aspects of the operation remain classified. The official says two dozen SEALs in night-vision goggles dropped into the high-walled compound in Pakistan by sliding down ropes from Chinook helicopters in the overnight raid. U.S. officials say bin Laden was killed near the end of the 40-minute raid. The SEALs retrieved bin Laden's body and turned the remaining detainees over to Pakistani authorities.
The Pentagon says Osama bin Laden's body was placed into the waters of the North Arabian Sea after adhering to traditional Islamic procedures – including washing the corpse – aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
“Justice has been done,” President Barack Obama said in a dramatic announcement at the White House. A jubilant crowd of thousands gathered outside the White House as word spread of bin Laden's death. Hundreds more sang and waved American flags at Ground Zero in New York — where the twin towers that once stood as symbols of American economic power were brought down by bin Laden's hijackers 10 years ago.
U.S. officials said the CIA tracked bin Laden to his location, then elite troops from Navy SEAL Team Six, a top military counter-terrorism unit, flew to the hideout in four helicopters. Bin Laden was shot in the head in an ensuing firefight, these officials said, adding that he and his guards had resisted his attackers. U.S. personnel identified him by facial recognition, the official said, declining to say whether DNA analysis had also been used.
The U.S. team took custody of bin Laden's remains, which American officials said were being handled in accordance with Islamic tradition. Obama said no Americans were harmed in the operation. Three adult males were also killed in the 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-Qaida. U.S. officials also said one woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant, and two other women were injured.
Officials say CIA interrogators in secret overseas prisons developed the first strands of information that ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden's most trusted aides.
The CIA got similar information Mohammed's successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania. The news is sure to reignite debate over whether the now-closed interrogation and detention program was successful. Former president George W. Bush authorized the CIA to use the harshest interrogation tactics in U.S. history. President Barack Obama closed the prison system. Officials say CIA interrogators in secret overseas prisons developed the first strands of information that ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden's most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information Mohammed's successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.
The news is sure to reignite debate over whether the now-closed interrogation and detention program was successful. Former president George W. Bush authorized the CIA to use the harshest interrogation tactics in U.S. history. President Barack Obama closed the prison system.
Two Obama administration officials say DNA evidence has proven that Osama bin Laden is dead, with 99.9 percent confidence. The officials did not immediately say where or how the testing was done but the test explains why President Barack Obama was confident to announce the death to the world Sunday night.
The family members of those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are reacting with a muted joy to the death of the man who orchestrated so much grief. Charles G. Wolf, whose wife, Katherine, died at the World Trade Center, says he feels “happiness _ but not jump-up-and-down happiness.'' He says that closure doesn't really exist for him. Catherine Esposito came to ground zero Monday morning to honor the memory of her firefighter brother, Frankie Esposito. She says visiting the site is the closest she can come to visiting his grave, since his remains were never found. She says the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden makes her feel a little better. She believes that extremists are now as upset as she was on 9/11.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is warning al-Qaida and its affiliates around the world that the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan proves the network cannot wait out or defeat the United States and is calling on members of the group to abandon violence and rejoin society. In brief comments on Monday, Clinton said bin Laden's death was a milestone in the war on terrorism, but stressed that the “battle to stop al-Qaida and its syndicate of terror'' is not over. She said the operation to find and kill bin Laden nearly a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks showed the U.S. would never abandon its pursuit of justice. And, she said the U.S. would continue to boost its counter terrorism cooperation with other nations, including Pakistan.
The FBI has updated its list of Most Wanted terrorists to note that Osama bin Laden is dead. Its website _ with details about bin Laden and the $27 million being offered in rewards _ now includes a large red-and-white “deceased'' label atop bin Laden's photograph. Nine other highly sought after terrorists are still included on the FBI's list, including bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahiri. The U.S. government also is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or conviction. Private groups had added $2 million in rewards on top of the $25 million bounty placed on bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed in a gun battle with U.S. forces early Monday in Pakistan.
Long believed to be hiding in caves, Osama bin Laden was tracked down in a costly, custom-built hideout not far from a Pakistani military academy. An American official says the compound that was built in 2005 has 12 to 18-foot walls topped with barbed wire with two security gates, and there's no telephone or Internet service connected to it. The compound is located in a city that is home to three army regiments and thousands of military personnel. Abbottabad is surrounded by hills, with mountains in the distance. The location raised pointed questions of whether Pakistani authorities knew the whereabouts of the world's most wanted man. Officials say one key to the end of the manhunt was a courier trusted by bin Laden. In November, intelligence officials found out the courier was living in a huge fortified compound in Pakistan. The officials concluded bin Laden was there.
Capitol police cars flashed their lights and officers with automatic weapons patrolled in force Monday as a visual warning to anyone seeking to retaliate for Osama bin Laden's death. Senate Sgt. At Arms Terrance Gainer said Congress' police force is on the lookout for any threat on the Capitol campus as lawmakers returned from a two-week Easter recess. Ten police vehicles, lights flashing and trunks opened, gathered at the base of Capitol Hill early Monday where Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues meet. Officers with automatic rifles were examining every vehicle that approached.
Saudi Arabia says it hopes the killing of militant leader and former Saudi citizen Osama bin Laden will boost efforts to fight terrorism. The Saudi Press Agency carried an official statement Monday expressing hope that bin Laden's death with be a “step that supports the international efforts against terrorism.'' It added that the Saudi people in particular were targeted by “this terrorist organization,'' referring to bin Laden's al-Qaida, which once had an active branch in the desert kingdom. A scion of a prominent Saudi family, bin Laden was stripped of his citizenship after he criticized the royal family's reliance on U.S. troops to protect it after the Iraqi invasion of neighboring Kuwait.
CIA Director Leon Panetta is congratulating employees of the spy agency for their role in killing Osama bin Laden. In a statement Monday, Panetta praised what he described as the “outstanding expertise, amazing creativity and excellent tradecraft'' in tracking down and launching the military strike that killed bin Laden. Panetta, who is preparing to take over the Pentagon as the new U.S. defense secretary, also praised the Navy Seal team that took bin Laden down in a bun battle early Monday. Panetta called bin Laden “the most infamous terrorist of our time.'' He added: “We have struck a heavy blow against the enemy. The only leader they have ever known, whose hateful vision gave rise to their atrocities, is no more. The supposedly uncatchable one has been caught and killed.''
Stocks are rising after the death of Osama bin Laden, several strong earnings reports and a big corporate deal in the drug industry. President Barack Obama said late Sunday that bin Laden, the al-Qaida chief who inspired the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, had been killed in a firefight with American forces in Pakistan. That raised investors' spirits Monday on Wall Street. Dish Network, Chrysler and Humana also reported strong earnings. Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said it would buy Cephalon Inc. for $81.50 per share, or $6.8 billion.