WASHINGTON — There was reaction from around the world on the killing of Osama bin Laden by American forces in Pakistan, from former President George W. Bush to victims' families to senators to world leaders:
Former President George W. Bush
President Barack Obama called Bush in Dallas at 9:04 p.m. central time (10:04 p.m. ET) to inform him that bin Laden was dead and they spoke for four minutes, a Bush spokesman said.
The Sept. 11 attacks were a defining moment of Bush's presidency. He launched the war in Afghanistan and the hunt for bin Laden spanned the rest of his presidency. His statement:
"Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaida network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. 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 fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."
Former President Bill Clinton
"This is a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaida's other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and co-operation for our children. I congratulate the president, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al-Qaida attacks."
Bonnie McEneaney, 57, wife of Eamon McEneaney, who died in the 9/11 attacks
"It doesn't bring back all the wonderful people who were killed 10 years ago. It's long overdue."
"I'm completely numb. I'm stunned," she told msnbc.com.
Jack Lynch, 75, who lost his son, New York City firefighter Michael Francis Lynch
"The first thought I had in my mind was that it didn't bring my son back. You cut the head off a snake, you'd think it would kill the snake. But someone will take his place. People like him still exist. The fact that he's gone is not going to stop terrorism."
"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. 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."
Lee Hanson, 78, of Easton, Conn., who lost his son, Peter, daughter-in-law, Sue, and 2 1/2 year-old granddaughter, Christine — the youngest victim of the 9/11 attacks. They were aboard the second plane that hit the World Trade Center
"It's taken a while to do it, but we've done it. It's a really good thing to get out there — if you fool around with the U.S., you will be caught."
"Many segments will try to avenge this ... There's still a great danger there."
Still, he said: "There's no such thing as closure."Marking bin Laden news? Click here or email email@example.com
New York City's Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano
"Osama Bin Laden was responsible for killing 343 members of the FDNY on Sept. 11, 2001. Tonight, in firehouses throughout the city, our members are grateful for the news, and thankful to all the brave members of the U.S. military that had a role in this successful operation."
POLITICAL OFFICIALS REACT
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
"Even as we mark this milestone, we should not forget that the battle to stop al-Qaida and its syndicate of terror will not end with the death of bin Laden."
As First Read notes: Clinton offered an ominous warning to those members of al-Qaida still hiding out, but also offered them an olive branch. "You cannot wait us out; you cannot defeat us," she said, but added, "but you can make the choice to abandon al-Qaida and participate in a peaceful political process."
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
"After September 11, 2001, we gave our word as Americans that we would stop at nothing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. After the contribution of millions, including so many who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, we have kept that word.
"The killing of Osama bin Laden does not lessen the suffering that New Yorkers and Americans experienced at his hands, but it is a critically important victory for our nation - and a tribute to the millions of men and women in our armed forces and elsewhere who have fought so hard for our nation.
"New Yorkers have waited nearly ten years for this news. It is my hope that it will bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001."
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor during the 9/11 attacks, tells TODAY he feels “satisfaction” that justice has been served with the death of Osama bin Laden, but explains how it may make the pain of the past “a little worse today.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney
The ex-Bush official tells NBC News : "It's tremendous news, it really is a great day for an awful lot of people who worked very, very hard for a long time. Think about the bravery and courage of the men who carried out the operation."
"It's also a good day for the administration. President Obama and his national security team acted on the intelligence when it came in, and they deserve a lot of credit too."Video: Crowds celebrate bin Laden death at ground zero
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
"The death of Osama Bin Laden is a historic moment that represents a major step in our country's efforts to defeat terrorism around the world and should bring a sense of justice to the victims of 9/11 and his other attacks.
"We will never forget those who were lost, their families and those who risked their lives to save others.
"New Yorkers endured Bin Laden's most devastating and destructive attack, and his death brings back the horrific images and emotions of that terrible day. However, his death also reminds us of our strength, courage, and unity as a people in our response to his actions.
"The Administration's vigilance and dedication to hunt down Osama Bin Laden has never wavered and I applaud their commitment to this cause. I also applaud our men and women in uniform who have fought tirelessly against terrorism and to defend freedom.
"The threat to our state and our nation unfortunately does not die with Osama Bin Laden. We must remain vigilant in preventing terror acts and continue to do everything to keep our state and nation safe and secure."
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House Speaker John Boehner
"This is great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against al-Qaida and radical extremism around the world. We continue to face a complex and evolving terrorist threat, and it is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to confront and defeat the terrorist enemy and protect the American people. I want to congratulate — and thank — the hard-working men and women of our Armed Forces and intelligence community for their tireless efforts and perseverance that led to this success. I also want to commend President Obama and his team, as well as President Bush, for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
"Nearly a decade ago, in the days after 9/11, President Bush said, 'Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.' Tonight, we've learned that justice has been done. The man with the blood of more than 3,000 Americans on his hands, the man who forced us to begin to think the unthinkable - is now dead.
"Families who lost loved ones at the hands of Bin Laden and his terrorist organization have grieved for far too long and this sends a signal that America will not tolerate terrorism in any form. The men and women of our armed forces and intelligence community have fought valiantly for the last decade and this is a major victory and testament to their dedication. I commend President Obama who has followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing Bin Laden to justice. While this is no doubt a major event in our battle against terrorism, we will not relent in our fight against terror and our efforts to keep America safe and secure."
Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security
"I commend President Obama on the announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
"Today, the American people have seen justice. The leader of the United States' top enemy has gotten what he deserves for orchestrating the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on September 11, 2001.
"In 2001, President Bush said 'we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.' President Bush deserves great credit for putting action behind those words. President Obama deserves equal credit for his resolve in this long war against al-Qaida.
"This great success would not have been possible without the tireless work of countless brave men and women who have served around the world in this War on Terror."Video: Pakistan TV shows images of bin Laden compound
Sen.Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.
"This is a thunderous strike for justice for the thousands of my fellow New Yorkers — and citizens from all over the world — who were murdered on 9/11. It took close to ten years, but the world's most wanted terrorist has finally met his deserved fate. New York's heart is still broken from the tragedy of 9/11, but this at least brings some measure of closure and consolation to the victims and their families.
"This is a massive accomplishment for the countless military and intelligence personnel who have been urgently dedicated to this task for the past decade. Because Bin Laden's evil dogma has poisoned the minds of so many others, we cannot let up in the war on terror. This successful mission sends a definitive message to those who would test the resolve of the people of the United States of America: do not doubt our resolve; if you do us harm, we will find you, we will mete out justice, and we will prevail."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
"I am 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. I hope the families of the victims of the September 11th attacks will sleep easier tonight and every night hence knowing that justice has been done. I commend the President and his team, as well as our men and women in uniform and our intelligence professionals, for this superb achievement.
"But while we take heart in the news that Osama bin Laden is dead, we must be mindful that al-Qaida and its terrorist allies are still lethal and determined enemies, and we must remain vigilant to defeat them."
Sen. Joe Lieberman
"But the end of Osama bin Laden - at American hands, and in partnership with a Muslim ally - marks a historic victory in this longer struggle."
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (she was national security adviser on 9/11)
"Absolutely thrilling. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and continue to be amazed at what our military has achieved."
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
The ex-Bush official tells TODAY : "We've always had the ability to kill or capture. What we needed was the intelligence and we've been fortunate that that intelligence was forthcoming. It may very well have been partly the result of some of the interviews that took place in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
"Though the death of Osama bin Laden is historic, it does not diminish our relentless pursuit of terrorists who threaten our country."
Former Vice President Dick Cheney
"The death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of American forces is a victory for the United States and a tremendous achievement for the military and intelligence professionals who carried out this important mission. Their tireless work since 9/11 has made this achievement possible, and enabled us to capture or kill thousands of al-Qaida terrorists and many of their leaders.
"I also want to congratulate President Obama and the members of his national security team. Though bin Laden is dead, the war goes on. We must remain vigilant, especially now, and we must continue to support our men and women in uniform who are fighting on the front lines of this war every day.
"Today, the message our forces have sent is clear — if you attack the United States, we will find you and bring you to justice."
British Prime Minister David Cameron
"Osama bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocities the world has seen — for 9/11 and for so many attacks, which have cost thousands of lives, many of them British. It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror.
"The news that Osama bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world.
"But above all today, we should think of the victims of the poisonous extremism that this man has been responsible for. Of course, nothing will bring back those loved ones that families have lost to terror. But at least they know the man who was responsible for these appalling acts is no more."Interactive: A timeline of Osama bin Laden's life (on this page)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
"This is a resounding triumph for justice, freedom and the values shared by all democratic nations fighting shoulder to shoulder in determination against terrorism."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
"Osama bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people. The forces of peace were successful last night."
Video: Death of bin Laden
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde
"The U.S. economy is like the American people. It reacts very quickly either positively or negatively. I wouldn't be surprised if this event prompted a pick-up in confidence."
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
"9/11 was an attack not just on the United States, but on all those who shared the best values of civilization. The operation shows those who commit acts of terror against the innocent will be brought to justice, however long it takes."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai
"He was made to pay for his actions."
The Palestinian militant group condemned the killing, and mourned Osama bin Laden as an "Arab holy warrior."
"We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood," Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, told reporters.
Though he noted doctrinal differences between bin Laden's al-Qaida and Hamas, Haniyeh said: "We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs."
The Associated Press, Reuters, NBC News and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.