Osama bin Laden, the man credited with the worst terror attack in the history of the United States, died Sunday, May 1, 2011 in a daring attack by US Navy Seals.
The specially trained forced entered the 1 acre compound, located in the city of Abbottabad, Pakistan and, within forty minutes, killed bin Laden and gathered the most valuable intelligence ever obtained about the Al Queda terror organization. The materials, gleaned from computers located throughout the house, gave detailed information to the US about the whereabouts of other major Al Queda players, making bin Laden’s final act one of betrayal to his own.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) first suspected bin Laden to be hiding in this compound, eight times the size of most houses in the quiet neighborhood near the Pakistani equivalent to Westpoint, in August of 2010. Members of the intelligence group set up a safe house nearby, monitoring the compound constantly for eight months. Although bin Laden himself was never seen, his couriers were. With constant surveillance, the CIA determined this to be the place the famous terrorist was hiding. A replica of the compound was constructed and Navy Seals began practicing for the May 1 raid.
Bin Laden, one of his grown sons, two couriers and a woman used as a human shield by one of the couriers were killed in the attack. No American lives were lost.
President Barak Obama, who okayed the mission two days before it was carried out, said in an interview with ’60 Minutes’ that the forty minutes of the attack were the most tense of his life, with the possible exception of when his daughter “Sasha got meningitis when she was three months old.” Surrounded by his security advisors, the president watched in real time as events in Pakistan unfolded. At nearly 4 PM, he was told that a possible identification of bin Laden had taken place, and it was confirmed through a DNA match with tissue from the terrorist leader’s sister, who died in a Boston hospital from cancer. A portion of her tissue was kept for just such a moment, and for that purpose.
Obama released word to the American public in a late-night press conference. "A small team of Americans carried out the operation," Obama said. "After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body … Justice has been done.”
Ex-president Bush, who was in office at the time of the 9-11 attacks in New York and Washington D.C., agreed. He said the attack “marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones” when the terrorist network, under bin Laden’s direction, flew two planes into the twin World Trade Center towers, a third into the Pentagon and lost control of a forth when passengers and crew of the jet crashed in instead of allowing it to be used as a weapon of war.
While for many, the attacks of September 11 live in stark clarity in their memory, for others it is history. But with the announcement of bin Laden’s death, celebration erupted in the streets nationwide. People waved US flags, sang the National Anthem and chanted “USA! USA!” in joy at Al Queda’s loss.
Both presidents associated with 9-11, Bush and Obama, agree on one thing. The death of bin Laden does not signal the end of terrorist activities against the US. "The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done," Bush said.
Bin Laden, who began his life as the spoiled son of a Saudi billionaire, was exiled from his homeland for his radical views of Islam. He founded and funded the Al Queda organization, devising its plots against the US and her allies for more than two decades. He was buried at sea within 24 hours of his death, in accordance to Muslim law.