It's official: President Obama announces that Osama bin Laden has been killed
At 10:35 p.m. Sunday, President Obama confirmed rumors that had started percolating earlier in the evening: Osama bin Laden is dead.
In a brief speech from the East Room of the White House, Obama said that the architect of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks was killed deep inside Pakistan after U.S. officials had learned of his whereabouts.
"Today at my direction the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body," Obama said.
CNN said that the 40-minute operation was performed by a small team of Navy Seals who stormed the compound by helicopter. Bin Laden was found not in a cave, but in an fortified mansion in an affluent area located around 30 miles) from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
The Chicago Tribune points out that Obama's announcement came eight years to the day after then-President George Bush announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq, the so-called “Mission Accomplished” speech from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
Another unusual coincidence (noticed by MSNBC commentator Brian Williams): The death of Adolph Hitler was announced on May 1, 1945.
Major networks and cable channels broke into their regular programming about an hour before Obama's speech with reports that bin Laden had been killed.
After Obama's speech, a large crowd gathered outside of the White House waving American flags and celebrating the news.