Al-Qaida's leader and founder Osama Bin Laden has been killed and the United States has his body, President Obama confirmed tonight. The President addressed the nation on the key development at around 11:30 PM EDT, saying that "his demise should be welcomed by all of those who believe in peace and human dignity."
"The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaida," President Obama said in live remarks.
The President noted that the special operations mission had taken place in Abbottābad, Pakistan Sunday, with credible intelligence dating back to August 2010. It was decided over the past week that that intelligence was actionable.
In the speech, he urged the world's Muslims to not see this as an attack on Islam. "Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims," he said. "Osama bin Laden had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing" its civilians and soldiers.
Bin Laden had been America's most wanted terrorist and was responsible for several massive terror attacks on American citizens. He also took credit for the deadliest terror attack in American history, the September 11, 2001 attacks. He had previously been characterized as the "most wanted man on the planet" and was added to FBI's Most Wanted List in June of 1999.
Jihadi websites like Ansar al-Mujahideen have noted the death of the legendary mega-terrorist, but al-Qaida and its affiliates have yet to issue a formal response.
After the Presidential address, former President George W. Bush commented on the announcement, calling the death of Bin Laden a "momentous achievement." "The fight against terror goes on," he said, "but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."