Osama bin Laden, the Saudi extremist whose al-Qaida terrorist organization killed more than 3,000 people in coordinated attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, is dead following a military operation in Pakistan and the U.S. has recovered his body, U.S. President Barack Obama announced Sunday night.
WASHINGTON- "Justice has been done," the president declared as crowds formed outside the White House to celebrate, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "We Are the Champions," NBC News reported.
Obama said bin Laden, whom he called a terrorist "responsible for the murder of thousands of American men, women and children," was killed in Pakistan earlier in the day after a firefight in an operation that was based on U.S. intelligence.
Officials long believed that bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world, was hiding a mountainous region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
It is a major accomplishment for Obama and his national security team, having fulfilled the goal once voiced by Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, to bring to justice the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Obama declared that "the death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's struggle to defeat al-Qaida," he stressed that the effort continues.
"We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad," he said, while emphasizing that "the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam."