It was announced late last night that Osama bin Laden (54) has been killed in a fire fight with US troops after a compound in Pakistan was targeted. Saudi-born Bin Laden had used his wealthy family’s riches to finance international terrorism for decades.
Bin Laden was the man behind the 9/11 attacks that cost more than 3,000 lives, and other terrorist strikes around the world. Having sought him for years, through two governments, Bin Laden was finally found and killed.
A United States operation was successfully launched yesterday on a mansion in the Pakistani garrison town, Abbotabad. US intelligence had been monitoring the compound for some time, to make sure that they actually had Bin Laden. A trace on Bin Laden’s couriers over the years narrowed the search down. Then, suspicions arose about the large mansion compound, which had very few windows, no phone or Internet access and which was heavily protected with barbed wire.
The compound is not in the so-called “badlands”, out in the remote rural area where it was thought Bin Laden and his most loyal supporters would hide out to avoid detection. The town is just 60 miles from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
Eventually, satisfied they had tracked down Osama Bin Laden, President Barack Obama personally gave the go-ahead to launch a U.S. Special Services attack on the compound.
In the ensuing fire fight, Osama Bin Laden and three other adults were killed. There were no US casualties. It was a unilateral US operation and the Pakistani government was not informed until after the successful operation was over.
Bin Laden’s body was removed from the compound. DNA tests confirmed his identity and he was given a burial at sea, in keeping with Moslem traditions.
“No Americans were harmed” in the action, President Obama confirmed. “Justice has been done.”
The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, thanked President Obama for authorizing the taking down of Osama Bin Laden. The former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, also welcomed this operation but warned we must now be vigilant against reprisal attacks.
For now, though, Americans at least are on the whole celebrating. People flocked to Times Square and Ground Zero to mark the occasion with partying and singing of “God Bless America”. One memorable banner read, “Obama 1, Osama 0.” Many people also stood together to swear the Oath of Allegiance.