President Barack Obama on Sunday night announced that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in a U.S.-led operation that brought a stunning end to nearly 10 years of international pursuit of the world’s most notorious terrorist.
“A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and ability, For over two decades, bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, he has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. … The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda.”
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. 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.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity".
Obama provided few details on the operation itself, but he said that soon after taking office he made capturing or killing bin Laden “the top priority of our war against Al Qaeda.” The president said he was briefed in August on a possible lead on where bin Laden was hiding out. Obama said that last week he authorized Sunday’s operation after concluding that the evidence of bin Laden’s presence at a compound in Abottabad, Pakistan, was sufficiently solid to proceed.
“Justice has been done,” Obama declared in his 10-minute-long speech.
Former President George W. Bush congratulated President Obama and the members of the military after learning that the U.S. has successfully killed Usama Bi Laden.
“This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH): "This is great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against al-Qaida and radical extremism around the world. We continue to face a complex and evolving terrorist threat, and it is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to confront and defeat the terrorist enemy and protect the American people.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the United States on Sunday for killing Osama bin Laden, seeing a "resounding triumph" for Washington and its allies.
"This is a resounding triumph for justice, freedom and the values shared by all democratic nations fighting shoulder to shoulder in determination against terrorism," Netanyahu said in a statement.