Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden dead

Washington: Almost 10 years after the 9/11 terror strike, al Qaeda mastermind and world`s most dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden was today killed by US forces after being hounded in a special operation in Abbottabad in Pakistan.

Bin Laden, 54, is dead and his body is in US custody, President Barack Obama announced today at half past 11 Sunday US time as crowds outside White House chanted `USA, USA`.

Giving details of the operation, Obama said last week he determined that "we had enough intelligence to take action and authorised an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

"Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan". Abbottabad is about 150 kms north of Islamabad.

"I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and a terrorist who`s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children," Obama said in his address to the world from the East Room of the White House.

As soon he announced the death of the wanted terrorist, there were instant celebrations in Washington, outside the White House, and New York where the twin-tower terrorist strike happened 10 years ago killing over 3000 people.

"Justice has been done," Obama said, adding a small team of Americans carried out the operation.

No American was harmed in the operation.

After a fire fight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body," Obama said.

Calling his death as the "the most significant achievement" in the war, he said, "We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.

bin Laden caught the world`s eye with his audacious targeting of the twin towers and the Pentagon. Since then, the United Stated had launched a massive hunt for him in Afghanistan and also in border areas of Pakistan.