On Sunday night, about 11:30pm EST, President Obama addressed the nation, confirming after reports hit the airwaves that Osama bin Laden has been killed, almost 10 years after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. His body is now in the possession of the United States.
The President during his statement told the nation that after learning last week that bin Laden was hiding out in a compound in Pakistan's northwestern district of Abbottabad, some 40 miles from Islamabad, that he authorized a small team of Navy Seals to launch a targeted assault that killed the Al Qaeda leader today. No Americans were hurt during the fire fight, which lasted 40 minutes.
The killing of bin Laden is a major victory for the President, who demanded an aggressive expansion of Predator drone strikes in Pakistan. "Justice has been done," said the President during his address.
The death of bin Laden is a huge punctuation in the American-led war on terrorism. What remains to be seen is whether the death of the leader of Al Qaeda galvanizes his followers by turning him into a martyr, or whether it serves as a turning of the page in the war in Afghanistan and gives further impetus to the Obama administration to bring American troops home.
The news of the death of the leader of Al Qaeda was bound to electrify the world, particularly as it comes a full decade after American forces, under President Bush, launched their all-out assault to find the man responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.