In a special announcement the evening of May 1, 2011, President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden as a result of a U.S. military operation in Pakistan. The death of bin Laden ended a decade-long manhunt for the leader of al Qaeda, the organization made up of Islamic extremists that was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The president hailed the operation as a major victory for the nation’s counterterrorism efforts.
Bin Laden and his network of terrorists were responsible for numerous attacks against U.S. targets, including embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole. The military operation responsible for his death was the outcome of years of intense intelligence activity, leading to the discovery of his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The high-walled compound in a suburb of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, was built expressly to hide bin Laden in 2005. The suspicious activities of its residents alerted U.S. intelligence agents to the presence of a high-level al Qaeda member, although bin Laden had not been seen there prior to the raid.
Although the death of bin Laden is a dramatic victory in the continuing struggle against terrorism against the United States, the president and other government officials warned that the threat is far from over. The al Qaeda network spans some 40 countries and has carried out numerous attacks without bin Laden’s involvement. Attacks in retaliation for the killing of the al Qaeda leader are being anticipated at U.S. sites such as embassies and military bases.
Bin Laden photo: AP Photo/Time
- Osama bin Laden Killed in U.S. Raid, Buried at Sea
This Washington Post article provides an account of the intelligence and military operations leading to the raid, a description of Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea, and analysis of the importance of his death. (Source: Washington Post, May 2, 2011)
- Osama bin Laden Is Dead
This CBS News article describes the events before and after the U.S. raid and the reaction of residents of New York City and Washington, D.C., to the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. (Source: CBS News, May 1, 2011)
- Osama bin Laden, the Face of Terror, Killed in Pakistan
This CNN biography of Osama bin Laden recaps the history of his terrorist activities against the United States; includes a video on bin Laden’s legacy. (Source: CNN, May 2, 2011)
- President Obama’s Address
The official White House Web site includes the transcript and video of President Obama’s speech to the nation on May 1, 2011, announcing Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. Special Forces. (Source: whitehouse.gov, May 2, 2011)