It has been announced by US President Barack Obama that Osama Bin Laden has been killed by US forces in Pakistan.
The incident took place during a raid on a fortified compound in a suburb of Islamabad in which it is believed Bin Laden was living with his youngest wife and children, amongst others.
The news brings an end to the manhunt which began on 11th September 2001 and spanned multiple countries.
Speaking from the White House, Obama said:
“Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.”
He went on to praise the assistance of the Pakistani Government in the operation and also reiterated that America’s ‘War on Terror’ was not a war on Islam.
“… the United States is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.”
Praising the intelligence services and the forces who conducted the operation, he said:
“…on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al-Qaida’s terror: Justice has been done.”
First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond said:
“Osama Bin Laden orchestrated some of the worst terrorist atrocities the world has ever seen, including the horror of 9/11, and was directly responsible for the deaths of many thousands of innocent people. He evaded justice and has now met his just desserts, showing that there can never be a hiding place for those who pursue a reign of terror.
“The death of one terrorist leader, however significant, does not eliminate the danger, and people must remain vigilant in the face of what remains an ongoing threat.
“Support for the United States was never stronger than in the days immediately after 9/11, when the entire world expressed solidarity with the American people. Now that the account has been settled with Bin Laden, I hope that President Obama will use the strength of his position and progressive foreign policy to win the battle of ideology against Al-Qaida, and remove this danger from the world once and for all.”
The reaction from the international media has been equally celebratory with the UK Government saying:
“The news that Osama Bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world. Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen – for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives, many of them British.
It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror. This is a time to remember all those murdered by Osama Bin Laden, and all those who lost loved ones. It is also a time too to thank all those who work round the clock to keep us safe from terrorism.
Their work will continue. I congratulate President Obama and those responsible for carrying out this operation.”
The French Government declared the killing “a victory for all democracies against terrorism.”
There is thought that the assassination will have dealt a huge blow to extremists, with the possibility of reprisal attacks high enough to warrant a statement from the UK Foreign Office urging British Nationals to be vigilant.
The situation could be further inflamed by the broadcast of jubilant scenes of crowds celebrating the news in the US, where Osama Bin Laden is believed to be the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.