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Osama bin Laden Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks, was killed Sunday morning in his hideout in Pakistan. (AP Photos)

Osama bin Laden Is Dead

The terrorist leader behind the 9/11 attacks is killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan

By Zach Jones | May 2 , 2011
<p>TOP: On Sunday, crowds gathered around the White House after President Obama broke the news. (Jim Young / Reuters)</p><p>BOTTOM: U.S. troops tracked down bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Jim McMahon)</p>

TOP: On Sunday, crowds gathered around the White House after President Obama broke the news. (Jim Young / Reuters)

BOTTOM: U.S. troops tracked down bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Jim McMahon)

President Barack Obama announced on Sunday night that U.S. military forces in Pakistan have killed Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was the leader of Al Qaeda, the international terrorist group that attacked the U.S. nearly 10 years ago on a day that’s become known as 9/11.

On September 11, 2001, terrorists carried out a series of devastating attacks against American targets. Hijackers under bin Laden’s leadership flew planes into important buildings, including the Pentagon in Virginia and the World Trade Center twin towers in New York, once the tallest buildings in the world. Another hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people were killed that day.

Capturing bin Laden had been a top goal of the U.S. military since the attacks. But the search proved difficult, with bin Laden’s supporters keeping him well-hidden. In October 2001, America declared war on Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda was based. Still, bin Laden successfully eluded, or avoided, his enemies until now.

U.S. officials believed Osama bin Laden had moved across Afghanistan’s border into Pakistan but were not sure exactly where until last August. After months of careful planning, President Obama ordered a targeted assault on the house where bin Laden was believed to be hiding. The attack was successful, and bin Laden was killed in a raid by U.S. soldiers.

“For over two decades, bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies,” President Obama said in his statement. “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda.”

Military operations against Al Qaeda still continue in Afghanistan, nearly 10 years after the attacks, but bin Laden’s death is an emotional victory for many Americans who lived through 9/11. After President Obama’s speech, large crowds gathered outside the White House to celebrate the news. Many people, including family members of those who died in the 9/11 attacks, gathered in New York City at the spot where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

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