Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. forces in a targeted operation in Pakistan, President Obama said in a televised address Sunday night.
"Justice has been done," he said.
Bin Laden was the leader of Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
Obama said he authorized the military operation against bin Laden earlier today. Obama also said that U.S. officials have custody of bin Laden's body.
CNN reports that bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in a mansion outside Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, along with some family members.
Obama addressed those who lost loved ones during the September 11 attacks and said: “We have never forgotten your loss. Nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.”
TV reports show a huge crowd gathered outside the White House after Obama's speech, cheering and waving American flags.
U.S. authorities had been looking for bin Laden for the past decade. Since the attacks in 2001, bin Laden was able to avoid capture by hiding out in the mountains of Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region.
While in hiding, bin Laden released some 30 messages, which intelligence officials believed were passed from hand to hand to avoid giving away his location. But even while in hiding, states the New York Times, bin Laden "remained a potent symbolic figure" and continued to help shape the organization's strategy.
The Al Qaeda leader has also been accused of being behind the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed more than 200 people.
He has been on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's list of the 10 most wanted fugitives.
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Obama used the opportunity to commend the American people.
“Tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever it is we set our minds to," he said.