Osama bin Laden killed after 10 year manhunt in Pakistan

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington: Nearly 10 years after the traumatic Sep 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon, the world’s most wanted terrorist leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan.US President Barack Obama himself announced the end of the massive manhunt for the Al Qaeda mastermind that began during his predecessor George Bush’s watch, in Pakistan’s North Western Province in a US drone strike Sunday night.

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US forces have the body of bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda, the terrorist network behind the 9/11 attacks, said CNN citing US officials.

The enormity of the destruction – the World Trade Centre’s towers devastated by two hijacked airplanes, the Pentagon partially destroyed by a third hijacked jetliner, a fourth flight crashed in rural Pennsylvania, and more than 3,000 people killed – gave bin Laden a global presence.

Even before 9/11, the Saudi-born zealot bin Laden was already on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

He had been implicated in a series of deadly, high-profile attacks that had grown in their intensity and success during the 1990s.

Bin Laden eluded capture for years, once reportedly slipping out of a training camp in Afghanistan just hours before a barrage of US cruise missiles destroyed it, CNN said.

On Sep 11, sources cited by CNN said, the evidence immediately pointed to bin Laden. Within days, those close to the investigation said they had their proof.

Six days after the attack, President George W. Bush made it clear Osama bin Laden was the No. 1 suspect.

“I want justice,” Bush said. “There’s an old poster out West that said, ‘Wanted, dead or alive’.”

Osama bin Laden was born in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1957, the 17th of 52 children in a family that had struck it rich in the construction business.

His father, Mohamed bin Laden, was a native of Yemen, who immigrated to Saudi Arabia as a child. He became a billionaire by building his company into the largest construction firm in the Saudi kingdom.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])