by Jessica Valencia
After nearly 10 years of Osama bin Laden being labeled as public enemy No. 1, White House sources have reported the national symbol of terrorism and fear has been killed in a Pakistani compound on Sunday after nearly 40 minutes of firefights between al-Qaida and U.S. forces.
“Today at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” President Barack Obama said during a press conference Sunday night. “After a firefight, [U.S. forces] killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
As news spread throughout the U.S. of bin Laden’s death, crowds gathered outside the White House singing and chanting; a sight that mirrored a similar gathering following 9/11 but with a clearly different tone for the evening.
“His demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and dignity,” Obama said.
In a statement released by former President George W. Bush following the Obama press conference, he reiterated the importance of this moment for the U.S.
“This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001,” Bush said. “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
During the press conference Obama said when he took office, he made it his “top priority” to take down the face and figure behind the World Trade Center attacks.
Obama said he was briefed on a possible lead on bin Laden’s location.
“It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground.” Obama said.
Yet the work of intelligence agencies paid off last week when the administration ascertained they had enough information go after bin Laden who was believed to be hiding within a Pakistani compound.
President Obama reminded the world that the U.S. government was never out to attack Islam.
“I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam,” he said. “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.”
Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari stands in agreement with Obama over the significance of bin Laden’s death, with Obama calling it “a good and historic day for both our nations.”
Obama called for the U.S. to stand in unity over this news of the death of bin Laden.
“Let us remember we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”