May 1, 2011 (San Diego's East County)
Updated 11 p.m. -- Osama bin Laden was killed today in a special operation led by U.S. forces, President Barack Obama revealed tonight in a broadcast to the nation.
"Today at my direction," President Obama said, "A small team of Americans carried out this operation...After a firefight they killed Obama bin Laden and took custody of his body." The leader of Al Qaeda and mastermind behind the 911 attacks was hiding in a compound deep within Pakistan, U.S. intelligence learned last August. After months of confirming intelligence and planning the operation, the strike today went smoothly with no U.S. casualties, he confirmed.
President Obama said that shortly after taking office, he directed CIA director Leon Panetta to make finding bin Laden his top priority. "We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad," the President said, adding that the U.S. is not at war with Muslims. "Obama bin Laden was a mass murderer of Muslims," he noted, adding that his death should be hailed "by all who honor peace and human dignity."
The President said he spoke with Pakistan's president and that he agreed "this is a good and historic operation." To those who lost loved ones to Al Qaeda terrorist attacks, he pledged, "Justice has been done." He also thanked the intelligence community and the men who carried out the military operation for the "patriotism and unparalleled courage."
He called for Americans to remember the sense of unity after 911. "Today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country adn the determination of the American people...Tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever it sets its mind to do."
Former President George W. Bush issued a statement praising the action."This momentous achievement marks a victory for America...and for all those who lost loved ones in 911," Bush said.
World leaders have also praised the U.S. and expressed gratitude that bin Laden is no longer a threat, though some experts have warned that retaliation attempts are likely to occur.
Bin Laden, 54, had been the target of three administrations starting with President Bill Clinton, but had repeatedly eluded authorities while ordering terrorist attacks in numerous nations.
A crowd gathered outside the White House tonight, chanting "USA, USA!"
CNN reports the body has been buried at sea in accordance with Islamic law, after Saudi Arabia refused to accept the remains of bin Laden, a Saudi citizen. The President opted for burial at sea to avoid having a gravesite become a gathering place for martyrs or terrorist followers.
A source with intelligence agency ties has informed ECM that a DNA test was conducted. The source also indicated that some members of bin Laden's family were also killed in the attack on his compound, which turned out to be a mansion--not a remote cave, has had long been speculated to be the terrorist leader's hideout.