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Obama: Al-Qaeda head bin Laden dead!

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Mastermind of Sept. 11, 2001 attacks killed by US-led team after manhunt that took nearly a decade, president announces. Senior officials say al-Qaeda leader killed in firefight at his fortified compound in Pakistan, remains being handled according to Islam.

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 in a dramatic late-night statement at the White House.

Bin Laden was holed up in a two-story house 100 yards from a Pakistani military academy when four helicopters carrying US anti-terror forces swooped in the early morning hours of Monday and killed him.

Obama said he ordered the operation after receiving undisclosed intelligence information. Pakistani officials and a witness said bin Laden’s guards opened fire from the roof of the building, and one of the choppers crashed. The sound of at least two explosions rocked the small northwestern town of Abbottabad where the al-Qaeda chief made his last stand Sunday. The US said no Americans were harmed in the raid.  Bin Laden’s remains were taken into custody and American officials said they were being handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.

Based on statements given by US detainees, intelligence officials have known for years that bin Laden trusted one al-Qaeda courier in particular and they believed he might be living with him in hiding. In November, intelligence officials found out where he was living, a huge fortified compound. It was surrounded by walls as high as 5.5 meters, topped with barbed wire. There were two security gates and no phone or Internet running into the house.

Intelligence officials believed the $1 million home was custom-built to harbor a major terrorist. CIA experts analyzed whether it could be anyone else, but time and again, they decided it was almost certainly bin Laden.

Three adult males were also killed in Sunday’s raid, including one of bin Laden’s sons, whom officials did not name. One of bin Laden’s sons, Hamza, is a senior member of al-Qaeda.

The news bun Laden was killed in an army town in Pakistan will raise more pointed questions of how he managed to evade capture and whether Pakistan’s military and intelligence leadership knew of his whereabouts and sheltered him. Critics have long accused elements of Pakistan’s security establishment of protecting bin Laden, though Islamabad has always denied this. Read more here…

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Written by Theophyle

May 2, 2011 at 8:17 am

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