U.S. forces killed the al-Qaeda leader on Sunday at his compound in Pakistan where he had been hiding since last summer. The 54-year-old led a self declared war against the United States as head of one of the most ruthless terrorist networks in history.
The world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty for his capture, dead or alive, was able to elude a massive manhunt for nearly ten years. He reached the end of the line on May Day 2011, when a small group of highly trained Navy Seals stormed his mansion hideout and shot him in the head.
The compound was “custom built for someone of significance” in 2005. Physical security included 12 to 18 foot walls and restricted access by two security gates. U.S. intelligence analysts concluded in mid-March that it could be where bin Laden was living with family members.
Obama, working with only a small group of our own government people, gave the go-ahead on Friday to begin the helicopter operation. No Americans were injured during the 40 minute raid. Their mission order was to kill, not capture. Bin Laden reportedly exchanged gun fire with the Navy Seals and died of a gunshot to the head in the early minutes of the U.S. operation.
The President was able to watch the events as they unfolded in ‘real time’ via live video feed from his vantage point in the White House Situation Room. It is expected that that historic footage will be released.
Bin Laden shaped and financed the plot to hijack U.S. airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 – photo gallery. That act of terror prompted President George W. Bush to galvanize U.S. forces against him in the “first war of the 21st century.”
President Obama told the nation: “Justice has been done. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaeda.”
View a photo of the team that conferred with the President prior to the operation. We’ve also included video from the compound where bin Laden was killed, followed by the full Obama statement below: