Osama bin Laden is dead and his body has been recovered by US authorities, US officials said on Monday morning.
President Barack Obama was to make the announcement shortly that after searching in vain for bin Laden since he disappeared in Afghanistan in late 2001, the Saudi-born extremist is dead.
It is a major accomplishment for Obama and his national security team. Obama’s predecessor, George W Bush, had repeatedly vowed to bring to justice the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, but never did before leaving office in early 2009.
US officials said that after searching in vain for the al Qaeda leader since he disappeared in Afghanistan in late 2001, the Saudi-born extremist is dead and his body recovered.
Having the body may help convince any doubters that bin Laden is really dead.
He had been the subject of a search since he eluded US soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains in 2001. The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.
While in hiding, bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his militant Islamist views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway.
Besides September 11, Washington has also linked bin Laden to a string of attacks – including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.