WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden, the glowering mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was slain in his luxury hideout in Pakistan early Monday in a firefight with U.S. forces, ending a manhunt that spanned a frustrating decade.
"Justice has been done," President Barack Obama said in a dramatic announcement at the White House.
A jubilant crowd of thousands gathered outside the White House as word spread of bin Laden's death. Hundreds more sang and waved American flags at Ground Zero in New York — where the twin towers that once stood as symbols of American economic power were brought down by bin Laden's hijackers 10 years ago.
Another hijacked plane slammed into the Pentagon on that cloudless day, and a fourth was commandeered by passengers who forced it to the ground — at cost of their own lives — before it could reach its intended target in Washington.
The United States attacked Afghanistan within months, pursuing al-Qaida, and an invasion of Iraq followed as part of the Bush administration's global war on terror.