Obama Says bin Laden Killed, Countries Hail Victory
    2011-05-02 12:02:34     Xinhua       Web Editor: Yihang

A screen grab from CNN's live coverage on U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden being killed in Pakistan, May 1, 2011. [Photo: Xinhua]

Related: Osama Bin Laden Killed in Abbotabad near Islamabad of Pakistan

                Profile: Osama bin Laden, Bitter Enemy of U.S.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday announced the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden almost 10 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil that killed nearly 3,000 people. At the astonishing news, world leaders congratulated Obama of what they call a victory for all.

In a highly unusual Sunday night speech, Obama said a U.S. operation had killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and put his body in U.S. custody.

Earlier Sunday, U.S. forces launched "a targeted operation" against a Abbottabad compound outside the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, and later confirmed that the terrorist leader was among those killed in a fire fight, said the president.

Pakistani sources confirmed that bin Laden had been killed in the Abbottabad compound.

Obama hailed the death of the terrorist leader as the "most significant achievement" to date in U.S. efforts to defeat al-Qaida.

He said that shortly after taking office in 2009, he asked Leon Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to make killing or capture of bin Laden a top priority in the war against al-Qaida.

He added the United States obtained leads about bin Laden last August, and made a preliminary assessment that he was hiding "deep inside" Pakistan.

The president also said that joint counterterrorist efforts with Pakistan led to the achievement. "Going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al-Qaida and its affiliates," he said.

Bin Laden, born in Saudi Arabia in 1957 and widely seen as the kingpin of global terrorism, was held responsible for a string of anti-American attacks, including the world-shocking Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

As the news went public, leaders of the world countries, including Israel, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia and Russia, immediately hailed the killing of of the world's most wanted terrorist as a victory for the whole world.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu congratulates Obama "on this victory for justice, liberty and the common values of democratic nations which fought side by side against terrorism," said a statement from the prime minister's office.

Israeli President Shimon Peres also welcomed the news, saying the operation was a great success, not only for the United States, but for the whole free world.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the news of bin Laden's death would bring great relief to people across the world as he was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen.

"It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror," he said in a statement issued on Monday.

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in a statement that bin Laden's death at the hands of U.S. forces "is a victory of good over evil, of justice over cruelty. It's a victory of the free world and democracy."

Frattini hailed Washington's determination in hunting down bin Laden, adding that "this is a great victory for the United States and for the international community in the fight against al-Qaida and terrorism."

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Monday that the death of bin Laden was important in the war on terror and gave the families of Australians who were killed in terrorist attacks "some measure of justice."

Gillard, however, warned that the death of bin Laden is not the end of al-Qaida, adding that Australia would continue its operation in Afghanistan.

Russia welcomed the death of bin Laden as a" serious success" the United States achieved in the war against international terrorism, local news agencies cited President Dmitry Medvedev's press service as saying.

Russia, as one of the first countries to face the threat posed by global terrorism, was willing to strengthen its cooperation with the Untied States in the fight against terror, said the reports.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Obama that she was relieved to know the killing of bin Laden by U.S. forces, saying that it was a success of "the forces of peace."

But she warned that international terrorism has not yet been defeated, said her spokesman in a statement released on Monday.

France hailed the killing of bin Laden "a major event in the global fight against terrorism," the Elysee Palace said Monday.

"France salutes the tenacity of the United States, which has been hunting him for 10 years," Elysee Palace said in a statement.

A jubilant crowd of hundreds of people gathered outside the White House cheering, applauding and waving U.S. national flags.

Joe Lombardi, a soldier who served from 2002 to 2006, said, "I joined the military after 9/11. It brings a closure to the part of my life. It brings a closure for Americans as well."

"We can go home from Afghanistan. Hopefully, we will get out of Afghanistan," he added.

Ben Porter, a student in Washington, said, "I am very happy about that, of course. Hopefully, it is the start of the end to an era of conflict. It is something we have been waiting for a long time, more than 10 years."

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, who waged a "war on terror" after the Sept. 11 attacks, said in a statement after Obama's announcement that the death of bin Laden was a "momentous achievement."

Another former President Bill Clinton said: "I congratulate the president, the national security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al-Qaida attacks."

Shortly after Obama's speech, amid fears of retaliatory anti-American violence, the U.S. State Department issued a global travel alert to U.S. citizens, and put all U.S. embassies on alert.

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