Obama said bin Laden, 54, whom he called a terrorist "responsible for the murder of thousands of American men, women and children," was killed in Pakistan earlier in the day after a firefight at a compound in the city of Abbottabad in a military operation that was based on U.S. intelligence.
Other U.S. officials said one of bin Laden's sons and two of his most trusted couriers also were killed, as was an unidentified woman who was used as a human shield.
The news immediately raised concerns that reprisal attacks from al-Qaida and other Islamist extremist groups could follow soon.
"In the wake of this operation, there may be a heightened threat to the U.S. homeland," a U.S. official said. "The U.S. is taking every possible precaution. The State Department has sent advisories to embassies worldwide and has issued a travel ban for Pakistan."
- Death of Osama bin Laden
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- Charles Wolf of New York, whose wife, Katherine, died on Sept, 11, 2001, rejoiced at the news, which he called "wonderful." "I am really glad that man's evil is off this earth forever," Wolf said. "I am just very glad that they got him." Who is Ayman al-Zawahiri? "We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad," he said, while emphasizing that "the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam." Bin Laden shot in the head, U.S. says Officials had long believed that bin Laden was hiding a mountainous region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In August, U.S. intelligence officials got a tip on his whereabouts, which led to the operation that culminated Sunday, Obama said. U.S. officials told NBC News that U.S. Special Operations forces carried out the attack on the al-Qaida compound, killing bin Laden when they shot him in the head during a firefight. The special operations forces returned with the body to Afghanistan, U.S. officials said. They said they were ensuring that it was being handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition.