Speaking in a nation-wide television address late Sunday night, US President Barack Obama confirmed that after months of surveillance and intelligence gathering, he finally gave the order early Sunday morning for a team of US special Navy Seals to raid the compound of Mr. Bin Laden, with the objectives of either capturing or killing the Al Qaeda leader.
The reaction of Americans was immediate, with thousands taking to the streets and celebrating in front of the White House in Washington DC and also at Ground Zero, in New York.
It is reported that the Americans carried out a series of DNA tests to be certain that they had finally caught their most wanted man. The body was said to be handled in the required Islamic traditions to avoid criticism amongst the Muslim communities. Following the DNA tests, Bin Laden’s body was taken out to sea and buried.
President Obama indicated that he called former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton to inform them of the military success that was executed with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA.
The small US military team of just over 2 dozen was engaged in a firefight that lasted just under an hour, before they completed their mission with a bullet to the head of Bin Laden. It is said that while there were no US casualties, also killed in the battle were some of Bin Laden’s body guards, one of his sons and other close family associates.
One of the US helicopters involved in the battle was burnt by the Seals to avoid intelligence breaches, after the aircraft ran into mechanical problems. The compound where Bin laden was found was also set on fire, with flames being visible for miles away.
Many are however expressing surprise that Bin laden, had been hiding in plain sight. Instead of hiding out in caves in Afghanistan, he had been living in almost the heart of Pakistan, just 62 miles or 2 hours away from the country’s capital.
Us diplomatic facilities throughout the world are now on high alert to avoid any possible retaliatory attacks some of which have already been threatened against Pakistani interests by the Taliban in that country.
Meanwhile oil prices have slipped by 2% since the killing and the US stock markets is set for a higher opening, in response to the news of Bin laden’s death.