Osama bin Laden, the glowering mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was killed in an operation led by the United States, President Barack Obama said Sunday
A small team of Americans carried out the attack and took custody of bin Laden's remains, the president said in a dramatic late-night statement at the White House.
A jubilant crowd gathered outside the White House as word spread of bin Laden's death after a global manhunt that lasted nearly a decade.
"Justice has been done," the president said.
The development comes just months before the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon, orchestrated by bin Laden's al-Qaida organization, that killed more than 3,000 people.
The attacks set off a chain of events that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and America's entire intelligence apparatus was overhauled to counter the threat of more terror attacks at home.
Al-Qaida organization was also blamed for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 231 people and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in Yemen, as well as countless other plots, some successful and some foiled.
Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, is dead, and the U.S. is in possession of his body, a person familiar with the situation said late Sunday.
President Barack Obama was expected to address the nation on the developments Sunday night.
A senior U.S. counterterrorism official said bin Laden was killed in a ground operation in Pakistan, not by a Predator drone. The official said it happened last week.
Officials have long believed bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world, was hiding a mountainous region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak ahead of the president.