Osama bin Laden. Photo via Yahoo! NewsAs the United States nears the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed more than 3,000 people, President Obama announced Sunday night that the al Qaeda leader and mastermind of that horrific day, Osama bin Laden, has been killed.
CNN reports that a senior government official confirmed that bin Laden was shot by a small team of U.S. soldiers while in a mansion with family members outside of Islamabad. His body is now in American custody and is being handled according to Islamic customs. Three other adult men were killed in the firefight, including a son of bin Laden's, who was a senior member of the terrorist organization.
"Justice has been done," the president announced, saying that the operation he ordered after receiving intelligence information is "the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaeda."
The immediate reactions ranged from cautious to ecstatic. While crowds cheered outside of the White House, U.S. diplomats were placed on high alert and officials said a "worldwide caution" would be set for Americans in case of al Qaeda retaliation.
Will bin Laden's death be the justice grieving Americans have sought for nearly a decade?
Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93, said it does bring comfort.
"This is important news for us, and for the world. It cannot ease our pain, or bring back our loved ones. It does bring a measure of comfort that the mastermind of the September 11th tragedy and the face of global terror can no longer spread his evil," Felt said.
President Obama says this victory does not close the book.
"His death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant," he noted.
Is this death enough for survivors of the 9/11 attacks, those who lost loved ones, and even a nation full of people who wept and were called to action from afar to find closure? Or will the wounds of that day always remain open for those people who witnessed it, either through the dust or on television?
How significant is Osama bin Laden's death to you?