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Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan: Obama

Monday May 02, 2011 10:04:23 AM, Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington: The world's most wanted terrorist and Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan, US President Barack Obama announced, describing it as a most significant achievement in response to the 9/11 attacks.

Osama, on top of the US "most wanted" list since the traumatic Sep 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon here, was killed Sunday after "a firefight" in Abbotabad, just 150 km north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

The Al Qaeda leader was killed in a ground operation based on US intelligence, the first lead of which emerged last August, and US forces took possession of his body, Obama said.

As Obama spoke on television, crowds gathered outside the White House in Washington DC, chanting "USA, USA" after the news emerged.

Osama, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in which nearly 3,000 people died, said after the attacks that the results had exceeded his expectations.

He evaded the forces of the US and its allies for almost a decade, despite a $25 million bounty on his head.

Osama had become the symbol of the Al Qaeda, even though the degree to which he commanded the organisation was questionable, said Stratfor, a strategic Washington think tank.

"The symbolic value of his death is obvious. The United States can claim a great victory. Al Qaeda can proclaim his martyrdom," it said.

Osama had been implicated in a series of deadly, high-profile attacks that had grown in their intensity and success during the 1990s.

He eluded capture for years, once reportedly slipping out of a training camp in Afghanistan just hours before a barrage of US cruise missiles destroyed it, CNN said.

On Sep 11, sources cited by CNN said the evidence immediately pointed to Osama. Within days, those close to the investigation said they had their proof.

Six days after the attack, President George W. Bush made it clear Osama bin Laden was the No. 1 suspect.

"I want justice," Bush said. "There's an old poster out West that said, 'Wanted, dead or alive'."

Osama bin Laden was born in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1957, the 17th of 52 children in a family that had struck it rich in the construction business.

His father, Mohamed bin Laden, was a native of Yemen, who immigrated to Saudi Arabia as a child. He became a billionaire by building his company into the largest construction firm in the Saudi kingdom.



(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

 

 

 

 

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