A 10-year manhunt for Osama bin Laden came to an end Sunday, as President Obama announced that U.S. Special Forces had killed the leader of al-Qaeda.
According to a Reuters report, the operation was carried out by a team of 15 special forces operatives at a heavily secured mansion not far from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Bin Laden was reportedly shot in the head while taking part in a firefight with U.S. soldiers. His corpse was then taken into custody to make sure his identity could be confirmed as well as prevent his body from being used as a shrine for martyr purposes. Bin Laden was then buried at sea.
After receiving approval from Obama, CIA Director Leon Panetta—who attended Santa Clara University and will be taking over the Department of Defense—gave the “go-order” for soldiers to raid the compound mid-day Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Government officials said the operation did not have execution in mind, but they admitted it was unlikely bin Laden would surrender peacefully.
Almost 3,000 people were killed in coordinated suicide attacks by the bin Laden-led terrorist group al-Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001.
Reaction to bin Laden’s death was jubilant across the nation, as people gathered for celebrations in many cities, including large gatherings at the White House as well as Ground Zero.