Video: US forces hunt down, kill Osama bin Laden

  1. Closed captioning of: US forces hunt down, kill Osama bin Laden

    >>> welcome to "today" on this monday morning. i'm meredith vieira . matt lauer is at ground zero where nearly 3,000 people lost their lives on september 11 , 2001 . 140 were killed at the pentagon and 40 others died on a plane that crashed in pennsylvania. obviously the headline front page has to do with osama bin laden . this one, the new york times, bin laden killed by forces in pakistan , obama declaring justice has been done. the new york post, "got him, vengeance at last" and "the daily news," rot in hell. intelligence officials learned of osama bin laden 's possible location in august. the president felt confident enough to give the order to bring him to justice. in the years after 9/11 we heard so much about bin laden hiding in mountain caves but in the end he was living in a mansion in a small affluent town 35 miles north of the pakistani capitol just is 100 yards away from the military academy . nbc news learned bin laden 's body was recovered during the raid and buried within 24 hours . the burial took place at sea. complete coverage beginning with chief white house correspondent chuck todd . good morning to you.

    >> reporter: good morning, meredith. it was an operation eight months in the planning with the president personally overseeing five meetings in the final six weeks as the u.s. government zeroed in on public enemy number one, osama bin laden . it was shortly before midnight when the president announced the news.

    >> 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 leaderlead leader of al qaeda .

    >> reporter: the president made it clear getting bin laden was always a priority.

    >> shortly after taking office i directed leon panetta , the director of the cia , to make the killing or capture of bin laden the top priority of our war against al qaeda .

    >> reporter: while intelligence officials suspected bin laden was hiding in pakistan , the exact location wasn't known until august.

    >> after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community i was briefed on a possible lead to bin laden .

    >> reporter: that lead, a bin laden courier whom intelligence operatives had been tracking for years. he led them to a large compound in an affluent town 35 miles outside of islamabad, pakistan .

    >> last week i determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get osama bin laden and bring him to justice.

    >> reporter: the president gave that final order friday morning in the situation room, just minutes before leaving washington to tour the tornado devastation in alabama. he called the death of bin laden the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al qaeda .

    >> usa! usa!

    >> reporter: the news spread quickly and jubilant crowds gathered at the white house .

    >> i wanted to come out here and show my support for the u.s.

    >> reporter: sunday night white house officials made calls to key leaders all over the country. the president personally briefed george w. bush and bill clinton . bush said, the fight against terror goes on, but tonight american has sent a message. no matter how long it takes, justice will be done. with nearly 150,000 troops fighting in afghanistan and iraq, some see this as a big morale boost.

    >> it's a shot main the arm to the u.s. armed forces . 48,000 have been killed fighting the war on terror . taking down this iconic figure is a very significant event.

    >> reporter: the president called the killing of bin laden a testament to the greatness of our country. with the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks four months away he had a special message for those who lost loved ones in the attack.

    >> justice has been done.

    >> reporter: the administration is trying to determine how to release the visual evidence of the dead bin laden . we'll hear from the president around lunchtime as he has a scheduled medal of honor ceremony for two korean war vet vetera veterans.

    >> the administration made a decision that they will release evidence of the body?

    >> reporter: they haven't made the decision yet. they realize it is necessary in some form. so they are still wrangling with how, when and where to do that.

NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 5/2/2011 11:23:44 AM ET 2011-05-02T15:23:44

Key details:

  • Al-Qaida leader killed in operation led by Navy SEALs, CIA forces
  • DNA evidence: 99.9 certain it was bin Laden
  • His compound was located close to Pakistan army base
  • President Obama says 'justice has been done'
  • Former President Bush hails 'momentous achievement'

Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was slain Sunday in his luxury hideout in Pakistan in a firefight with U.S. forces, ending a manhunt that spanned a frustrating decade.

"Justice has been done," President Barack Obama declared late Sunday as crowds formed outside the White House to celebrate. Many sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "We Are the Champions."

Hundreds more waved American flags at ground zero in New York — where the twin towers that once stood as symbols of American economic power were brought down by bin Laden's hijackers 10 years ago.

Video: Bin Laden compound raised suspicions (on this page)

Bin Laden, 54, was killed after a gunbattle with Navy SEALs and CIA paramilitary forces at a compound in the city of Abbottabad. He was shot in the left eye, NBC News' Savannah Guthrie reported citing an unnamed U.S. official.

In a background briefing with journalists, U.S. officials suggested that Bin Laden opened fire on the American forces before he was killed.

DNA tests
The special operations forces were on the ground for less than 40 minutes and the operation was watched in real-time by CIA director Leon Panetta and other intelligence officials in a conference room at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., an official said on condition of anonymity.

Video: Details on US raid that killed bin Laden (on this page)

The team returned to Afghanistan with bin Laden's body, U.S. officials said. NBC News reported that bin Laden was later buried at sea.

Islamic tradition calls for a body to be buried within 24 hours, but finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, a senior administration official said.

Two Obama administration officials told the Associated Press Monday that DNA evidence shows the body was bin Laden's, with 99.9 percent confidence.

Video: Bin Laden buried at sea

Other U.S. officials said one of bin Laden's sons and two of his most trusted couriers also were killed, as was an unidentified woman who was used as a human shield.

'A kill operation'
Al Arabiya TV reported that two of bin Laden's wives and four of his children were also captured during the operation.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior U.S. security official told Reuters that Navy SEALs dropped by helicopter to the compound were under orders to not capture bin Laden.

"This was a kill operation," the official said.

PhotoBlog: Bin Laden 'death photo' a fake?

Intelligence officials weren't certain that bin Laden would be at the site as there was "no smoking gun that put him there," NBC News reported. But Bin Laden was indeed holed up in a two-story house 100 yards from a Pakistani military academy when four helicopters carrying U.S. forces swooped in .

Bin Laden's guards opened fire on the commandos and his final hiding place was left in flames, witnesses said.

One of the choppers "inexplicably" stopped working during the operation and landed, sources told NBC News. The chopper was later destroyed by the U.S. team and the raid went forward.

U.S. officials said no Americans were hurt in the operation.

Video: Engel: Bin Laden loyalists engaging in ‘myth building’ (on this page)

Abbottabad is home to three Pakistan army regiments and thousands of military personnel and is dotted with military buildings. BBC News described the army site as the country's equivalent to West Point.

The discovery that bin Laden was living in an army town in Pakistan raises pointed questions about how he managed to evade capture and even whether Pakistan's military and intelligence leadership knew of his whereabouts and sheltered him.

The news of bin Laden's death immediately raised concerns that reprisal attacks from al-Qaida and other Islamist extremist groups could follow soon.

"In the wake of this operation, there may be a heightened threat to the U.S. homeland," a U.S. official said. "The U.S. is taking every possible precaution. The State Department has sent advisories to embassies worldwide and has issued a travel ban for Pakistan."

Security ramped up in U.S.
Police in New York, site of the deadliest attack on Sept. 11, said they had already begun to "ramp up" security on their own.

Other local law enforcement agencies around the U.S. are adding extra security measures out of "an abundance of caution," according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Video: State Department issues travel advisory

The agency said the extra police were not a response to a specific threat and facilities would operate normally.

In Los Angeles, police said they were stepping up intelligence monitoring and in Philadelphia, a lieutenant said police were checking mosques and synagogues every hour.

'Momentous achievement'
Charles Wolf of New York, whose wife, Katherine, died on Sept, 11, 2001, rejoiced at the news, which he called "wonderful."

"I am really glad that man's evil is off this earth forever," Wolf said. "I am just very glad that they got him."

Former President George W. Bush said in a statement that he had personally been informed by Obama of the death of the terrorist leader whose attacks forever defined his eight years in office.

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"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," the former president 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."

Obama echoed his predecessor, declaring that "the death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's struggle to defeat al-Qaida."

But he stressed that the effort against the organization continues. Al-Qaida remains in existence as an organization, presumably under the leadership of Ayman al-Zawahiri, 59, an Egyptian physician who is widely believed to have been bin Laden's No. 2.

Story: Who is Ayman Al-Zawahri?

"We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad," Obama said, while emphasizing that "the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday the killing of bin Laden is not the end of the war on terrorism and warned the network's members that the U.S. would be relentless in its pursuit of them.

Video: Clinton: 'Justice has been served'

Turning to deliver a direct message to bin Laden's followers, she vowed: "You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us but you can make the choice to abandon al-Qaida and participate in a peaceful political process."

'Affluent suburb'
Officials had long believed that bin Laden was hiding a mountainous region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In August, U.S. intelligence officials got a tip on his whereabouts, which led to the operation that culminated Sunday, Obama said.

By mid-February, information developed that made U.S. officials confident that the information was sound.

In mid-March, Obama headed five National Security Council meetings on the subject. Friday morning, he gave the final order to carry out the attack on a compound in what was described as an "affluent suburb" of Islamabad.

"The bottom line of our collection and analysis was that we had high confidence that the compound held a high-value terrorist target," a senior official said, with a "strong probability" that it was bin Laden.

Reuters / msnbc.com

"It is also noteworthy that the property is valued at approximately $1 million but has no telephone or Internet service connected to it," an administration official added.

Bin Laden's compound was huge and "extraordinarily unique," about eight times larger than other homes in the area, U.S. officials said.

Few windows of the three-story home faced the outside of the compound, and other intense security measures included 12- to 18-foot outer walls topped with barbed wire and internal walls that sectioned off different parts of the compound, officials said.

They said the compound was isolated by 12-foot walls, with access restricted by two security gates. Residents in the compound burned their trash, rather than leaving it for collection as did their neighbors, officials said.

The sound of at least two explosions rocked Abbottabad as the fighting raged.

"After midnight, a large number of commandos encircled the compound. Three helicopters were hovering overhead. All of a sudden there was firing toward the helicopters from the ground," said Nasir Khan, a resident of the town.

"There was intense firing and then I saw one of the helicopters crash," said Khan, who had watched the dramatic scene unfold from his rooftop.

Resident Sahibzada Salahuddin said he was asleep when explosions woke him.

"I was sleeping when all of a sudden there was a blast. It was followed by two more small blasts ... I opened the door and saw the entire compound was on fire," he said.

The role of Pakistan, with which Washington has had a difficult relationship for years, remained unclear. A senior Pakistani intelligence official told NBC News that Pakistani special forces took part in the operation, but senior U.S. and Pakistani officials said Pakistan was not informed of the attack in advance.

Pakistan's first official statement about the operation Monday said the death of bin Laden showed the resolve of Pakistan and the world to battle terrorism, and that it was "a major setback to terrorist organizations around the world."

Slideshow: World reacts to death of Osama bin Laden (on this page)

"This operation was conducted by the U.S. forces in accordance with declared U.S. policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the U.S. forces, wherever found in the world," the statement from Pakistan's foreign ministry statement said.

Critics have long accused elements of Pakistan's security establishment of protecting bin Laden, though Islamabad has always denied this.

Earlier, a senior adviser to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told NBC News that the politician was expected to make an "extremely positive" statement later Monday because bin Laden was "an enemy of the Pakistani people."

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, meanwhile, argued that the strike proved the real fight against terrorists was outside his country's borders.

"For years we have said that the fight against terrorism is not in Afghan villages and houses," Karzai said. "It is in safe havens, and today that was shown to be true."

Interactive: A timeline of Osama bin Laden's life (on this page)

He offered his appreciation to international and Afghan forces who have lost their lives in the nearly 10-year war in Afghanistan and expressed hope that bin Laden's death could mean the end of terrorism. But he said now is the time to stop assaults that endanger or harass Afghan civilians.

Karzai pledged, however, that Afghanistan stands ready to do its part to help fight terrorists and extremists.

"We are with you and we are your allies," he said, noting that many Afghans had died because of bin Laden's terror network.

Video: 2011: Obama confirms bin Laden is dead (on this page)

'I'm completely numb'
Reaction to the news of bin Laden's death was swift.

Bonnie McEneaney, 57, whose husband, Eamon, died in the 9/11 attacks, said the death of bin Laden was "long overdue."

"It doesn't bring back all the wonderful people who were killed 10 years ago," McEneaney told msnbc.com by phone from her home in New Canaan, Conn.

"I'm completely numb. I'm stunned," she said.

"The first thought I had in my mind was that it didn't bring my son back," Jack Lynch, who lost his son, New York City firefighter Michael Francis Lynch, on Sept. 11, 2001, told msnbc.com.

Video: Bin Laden death marks end of an era (on this page)

"You cut the head off a snake, you'd think it would kill the snake. But someone will take his place," Lynch said. "But people like him still exist. The fact that he's gone is not going to stop terrorism."

Lynch, 75, is a retired transit worker. His family's charity, the Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation, has made grants to send dozens of students to college. He said he would not celebrate bin Laden's death.

"I understand that bin Laden was an evil person. He may have believed in what he was doing. I'm not going to judge him," Lynch said. "I'm sure some people will look at this and they'll be gratified that he's dead, but me personally, I'm going to leave his fate in God's hands."

Video: Cheney: 'A great day' for many

U.S. officials who have been entrenched in the battle against al-Qaida for years were more jubilant.

2012 presidential candidates react

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Obama's opponent in the 2008 election, said he was "overjoyed that we finally got the world's top terrorist."

"The world is a better and more just place now that Osama bin Laden is no longer in it," McCain said in a statement. "I hope the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks will sleep easier tonight and every night hence knowing that justice has been done."

Msnbc.com staff, NBC News, WNBC, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Photos: World reaction

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  1. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officers keep watch at Grand Central Station in New York on May 6, one day after information from Osama bin Laden's compound indicated al-Qaida considered attacking U.S. trains on the upcoming anniversary of the September 11 attacks. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Muslims protest the killing of bin Laden in a demonstration outside the U.S. embassy on May 6, in London. The demonstration, which was called by radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, was in close proximity to a rival protest by the English Defense League that celebrated the death of the al-Qaida leader. (Oli Scarff / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. English Defense League members gather outside the U.S. embassy in London to cheer the death of bin Laden, facing off against a rival Muslim protest condemning the killing, on May 6. (Oli Scarff / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Supporters of the Pakistani religious group Jamaat-e-Islami rally against the U.S. in Abbottabad on May 6. Hundreds took to the streets in the town where Osama bin Laden was killed, shouting "death to America." (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A Pakistani on Friday walks past covered graffiti that reads "Usama bin Laden toun" (Osama bin Laden town) in Abbottabad, where bin Laden was killed on May 1. (Asif Hassan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Kashmiri Muslims on Friday offer funeral prayers in absentia for Osama bin Laden in Srinagar, India. Friday is a traditional day of protest in the Muslim world, where demonstrations frequently take place after the main weekly prayers. (Tauseef Mustafa / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Anti-American Pakistanis rally in Kuchlak, just north of Quetta, on Friday. (Arshad Butt / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Filipino anti-riot police and Muslims clash during a protest march in Manila, Philippines, on Friday. Hundreds marched toward the U.S. embassy to denounce the manner in which bin Laden‘s body was buried at sea. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Egyptian Islamists march to the U.S. embassy after the weekly Friday prayer in Cairo on Friday. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A Pakistani in Karachi on Thursday reads a newspaper showing the passport of Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, Osama Bin Laden's fifth wife who was shot in the leg during the raid. Amal Ahmed al-Sadah is being treated at the military hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. (Rehan Khan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Workers print T-shirts bearing images of Osama bin Laden at a shop in Surabaya in East Java, Indonesia, on Thursday. The shirts sell for 60,000 rupiah ($7) each. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Members of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front hold portraits of U.S. President Barack Obama and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during a pro-U.S. rally as they celebrate the killing of bin Laden, at Noida in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, May 5. U.S. officials sought to keep a lid on growing scepticism over Washington's version of events around bin Laden's death, insisting the al Qaeda leader was killed during a firefight in the compound in Pakistan where he was hiding. (Parivartan Sharma / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A member of the radical group Islam Defenders Front walks past posters depicting Osama bin Laden and. President Barack Obama, during prayers for the al-Qaida leader at their headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, May 4. (Irwin Fedriansyah / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Pakistani seminary students gather for an anti-U.S. rally in Quetta on May 4, against the killing of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan said the world must share the blame for failing to unearth Osama bin Laden as anger swelled over how the slain leader had managed to live undisturbed near Islamabad. (Banaras Khan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. An armed police officer stands guard outside the U.S. embassy in London, May 4. Security personnel in London remain vigilant following the death of al-Qaida's Osama bin Laden. (Matt Dunham / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Members of Indonesia's Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) hold prayers for Osama bin Laden in Jakarta May 4. Indonesian Islamists hailed bin Laden as a martyr on Wednesday, illustrating sympathy for the al-Qaida leader among Southeast Asian militant groups. (Beawiharta / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. People shout slogans during a protest against the U.S. military raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden in Multan, Pakistan, May 4. (MK Chaudhry / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Soldiers and police officers patrol in the Nice-Cote d'Azur airport, in Nice, France, May 4, as security remained vigilant following the death of Osaam bin Laden. (Lionel Cironneau / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Activists from the Anti Terrorist Front hold placards and shout pro-U.S, President Barak Obama slogans during a demonstration in New Delhi on May 3. (Raveendran / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Supporters of the banned Islamic organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa shout anti-American slogans before a symbolic funeral prayer for Osama bin Laden in Karachi, May 3. The founder one of Pakistan's most violent Islamist militant groups has told Muslims to be heartened by the death of Osama bin Laden, as his "martyrdom" would not be in vain, a spokesman for the group said on Tuesday. (Athar Hussain / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Supporters of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity organization widely reported to be linked with the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, offer funeral prayers for Osama bin Laden, in Karachi, Pakistan, May 3. (Rehan Khan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Palestinians protest against the killing of the al-Qaida leader in the Gaza Strip on May 3. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which governs Gaza, condemned the killing by U.S. forces of bin Laden and mourned him as an 'Arab holy warrior'. (Ali Ali / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Hundreds of Muslims offer special prayers for Osama bin Laden in Hyderabad, India, May 3. (Mahesh Kumar A / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A special issue of the magazine, Time, on the death of Osama bin Laden, will hit newsstands on Thursday, May 5. The cover show a red “X” over bin Laden’s face, and the magazine says it is the fourth cover in Time’s history to feature the red “X.” Other covers showed Adolf Hilter on May 7, 1945, Saddam Hussein on April 21, 2003, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on June 19, 2006. (Time via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. People read the newspapers with cover stories of Osama bin Laden, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 3. (Mohammed Mashhor  / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Supporters of the banned Islamic organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa embrace each other after taking part in a funeral prayer for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Karachi May 3. The founder one of Pakistan's most violent Islamist militant groups has told Muslims to be heartened by the death of Osama bin Laden, as his "martyrdom" would not be in vain, a spokesman for the group said on Tuesday. (Athar Hussain / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A member of an elite Filipino police anti-terrorist unit stands guard in front of the US embassy in Manila, the Philippines on May 3. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. A vendor sells newspapers detailing the death of Osama bin Laden in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 3. (Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Members of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) hold placards in New Delhi, India on May 3 during a rally celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden. (Adnan Abidi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Kristina Hollywood and her daughter Allyson attend a candlelight vigil for 9/11 victims at a memorial site following the death of Osama bin Laden in East Meadow, New York on May 2. (Daniel Barry / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. University of New Mexico Senior Wes Henderson waves an American Flag during a rally in Albuquerque, NM, organized by a group of students on Monday to honor the troops after the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. (Adolphe Pierre-louis / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Visitors, on Monday, look over the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., following the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan a day earlier. Nearly 10 years after Sept. 11, 2001 construction is underway to erect a formal memorial at the crash site. (Jeff Swensen / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Danielle and Carie LeMack and Christie Coombs, who lost relatives on 9-11, pause during a ceremony to honor the victims, Monday, May 2 at the Garden of Remembrance in Boston, Mass. Families of local victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks gathered at the 9/11 memorial to reflect upon the death of Osama Bin Laden. (Darren McCollester / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, Sunday, May 1. Also pictured are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. (The White House / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. In this handout image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Green Room of the White House, following his statement detailing the mission against Osama bin Laden, Sunday in Washington, DC. (The White House / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Part of a damaged helicopter is seen lying near the compound where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Sunday, May 1. (DOD via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. (Left image) Middle school teacher Gary Weddle with his beard photographed minutes before he shaves off the beard at his East Wenatchee, Wash., home on Sunday, May 1, 2011. (Right image) Weddle displays his cut beard while shaving the remaining stubble. Weddle completed a vow made nearly 10 years ago not to shave until Osama bin Laden was caught or proven killed. (Donita Weddle / The Wenatchee World, Capital Press via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. People look out at Ground Zero a day after the death of Osama Bin Laden on Monday, May 2 in New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. World Trade Center construction workers listen as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speak about Osama bin Laden at the World Trade Center site in New York on Monday, May 2. (Brendan McDermid / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Los Angeles Airport Police patrol the Tom Bradley terminal at Los Angeles International Aiport on May 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, Calif. Security presence has been escalated at airports, train stations and public places after the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the United States in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Carroll Fisher, of Auburn, Wash., a retired member of the US Air Force, waves a flag at passing cars as he stands on the "Freedom Bridge" just outside Joint Base Lewis-McChord on May 2, near Tacoma, Wash., the day after President Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. (Ted S. Warren / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Angry supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam burn a representation of the United States during a rally to condemn the killing of Osama bin Laden in Quetta, Pakistan on Monday. (Arshad Butt / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Afghan men working at a TV shop hug while watching the news of the death Osama bin Laden, May 2, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Paula Bronstein / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. A screen grab from the FBI's Most Wanted website, taken May 2, shows the status of Osama bin Laden as deceased. The al-Qaida leader was killed in a U.S. raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital Islamabad early on Monday, officials said. (fbi.gov via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Joyce and Russell Mercer, parents of New York Firefighter Scott Mercer who lost his life on 9/11, sit before a news conference concerning the death of Osama Bin Laden at the law offices of Norman Siegel on Monday in New York City. (Daniel Barry / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. An armored Park Police vehicle is parked at the base of the Washington Monument, May 2, in Washington, DC. The DC area and other places around the nation have stepped up security after it was announced that Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U. S. forces in Pakistan. (Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. A man selling carpets reads a newspaper reporting the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2 in Quetta, Pakistan. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Jim Schweizer, assistant to the director of Fort Snelling National Cemetery, straightens flowers at the grave of Thomas Burnett, May 2, in Bloomington, Minn. Burnett died on Sept, 11, 2001 along with 39 other passengers and crew when Flight 93 was hijacked and crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pa. Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was killed in a firefight with elite American forces in Pakistan on Monday, and then quickly buried at sea in a stunning finale to a furtive decade on the run. (Richard Sennott / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. This aerial photo, released May 2, 2011 by the Pentagon, shows a view of the compound in Abbottbad, Pakistan where a U. S. military operation was conducted and Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed on May 1. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Ashley Gilligan reflects on the death of Osama bin Laden at NBC Studios in New York on Monday. Gilligan lost her father, Ronald Gilligan, in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the death of Osama Bin Laden prior to posthumously awarding Private First Class Anthony Kaho'ohanohano, U.S. Army, and Private First Class Henry Svehla, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, in the East Room of the White House in Washington on May 2. (Shawn Thew / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Andrea Masano visits the memorial to Massachusetts victims of the attacks of 9/11 in Boston, Mass. on Monday. (Brian Snyder / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Women read an extra edition of a Japanese newspaper in Tokyo, May 2, reporting the death of Osama bin Laden. (Shizuo Kambayashi / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Kristen Grazioso, 14, places balloons on a carved stone Monday in Middletown, N.J., that honors her father, who was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center. There are 37 stones in the garden representing those from Middletown who died in the attack. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. A vendor arranges newspapers at his stall in Bhopal, India on Monday. (Sanjeev Gupta / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Tara Henwood Butzbaugh shows a photo of her family at the World Trade Center site in New York on Monday. Her brother was killed in the 9/11 attack. (Andrew Kelly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. A Transportation Security Administration agent checks the luggage of a passenger on May 2 at the Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Fla. Security in airports and train stations has been increased in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden. (Stan Honda / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Gamache pays respects to victims of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, at the 911 Pentagon Memorial on May 2 in Arlington, Va. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Jeff Ray of Shanksville, Pa., visits the temporary memorial to United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., Monday, May 2. (Gene J. Puskar / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Supporters of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden shout anti-American slogans, after the news of his death, during a rally in Quetta on Monday. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. New York City police officers with Operation Hercules arrive at the Armed Forces recruitment center in New York's Times Square on Monday. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. Dionne Layne, right, hugs Mary Power in reacton to the news of the death of Osama bin Laden on Monday in New York. At left is 1 World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, which is currently under construction. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. Pakistan army soldiers stand guard near the compound where it is believed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Monday. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Students look towards the compound where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed from a nearby madrasa in Abbottabad on Monday. (Faisal Mahmood / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Dan Parker of Shamokin, Pa., holds a U.S. flag outside the White House in Washington, D.C. on Monday after learning of Osama bin Laden's death. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. People buy newspapers reporting the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden at local newspaper printing press in Karachi, Pakistan on Monday. (Shakil Adil / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, is flanked by vice presidents Mohammad Qasim Fahim, left, and Mohammed Karim Khalili, right, as he addresses the media at the presidential palace in Kabul on Monday. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that the killing of Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan proved Kabul's long-standing position that the war on terror was not rooted in Afghanistan. (Shah Marai / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. People shout slogans while holding placards and photographs of Osama bin Laden as they celebrate his killing in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad on Monday. (Amit Dave / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. People react to the death of Osama bin Laden in Times Square, New York City, early Monday. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. University of Texas at Austin students celebrate the news of Osama bin Laden’s death at Cain & Abel’s bar late Sunday night. (Erika Rich / Daily Texan via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. People light candles in the streets at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center, in response to the death of Osama bin Laden on Sunday night, May 1, in New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  72. A driver and passengers celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden in the streets of Lawrence, Kan., on Sunday. President Barack Obama announced Sunday night, May 1, that Osama bin Laden was killed in an operation led by the United States. (Orlin Wagner / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  73. Arab-Americans celebrate the news of the death of Osama bin Laden in Dearborn, Mich., early Monday, May 2. (Carlos Osorio / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  74. Crowds gather at ground zero in New York early Monday, shortly after President Obama announced that a U.S. military operation had killed Osama bin Laden in a firefight at a large mansion in Pakistan. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  75. People cheer and wave flags on the "Freedom Bridge" just outside Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sunday near Tacoma, Wash., after they heard the news of bin Laden's death. (Ted S. Warren / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  76. David Huber and Nicole Lozare of Arlington, Va., pay their respect to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the Pentagon Memorial early Monday morning, after President Obama announced bin Laden's death. A special forces-led operation killed the al-Qaida leader in a mansion outside Islamabad in Pakistan. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  77. Crowds gather at ground zero in New York on Monday. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  78. U.S. Marines of Regiment Combat Team 1 watch TV at Camp Dwyer in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Monday as President Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden. Obama said late Sunday U.S. time that justice had been done after the September 11, 2001, attacks, but warned that al-Qaida will still try to attack the U.S. (Bay Ismoyo / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  79. People celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden in Times Square in New York City on Sunday night. (Pantaleo-Taamallah / Abaca) Back to slideshow navigation
  80. A crowd outside the White House in Washington cheers on Sunday upon hearing the news that terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is dead. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  81. President Barack Obama announces that Osama bin Laden has been killed during a televised address on Sunday, May 1, 2011. (NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Above: Slideshow (81) World reacts to death of Osama bin Laden - World reaction
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    Slideshow (29) World reacts to death of Osama bin Laden - The compound

Timeline: A timeline of Osama bin Laden's life

Considered enemy No. 1 by the U.S., the Saudi millionaire is the perpetrator behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Click on key dates to learn more about the founder of al-Qaida, an international terror network.

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