He was killed not in a cave but inside a home about 150 miles outside Islamabad in Pakistan. The fate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Al Qaeda number two in command, was unclear.
The death of Mr. Bin Laden is a huge punctuation in the American-led war on terrorism. What remains to be seen is whether the death of the leader of Al Qaeda galvanizes his followers by turning him into a martyr, or whether it serves as a turning of the page in the war in Afghanistan and gives further impetus to the Obama administration to bring American troops home.
One American official said that American forces, acting on intelligence, launched a “targeted assault” that killed Mr. Bin Laden, whose ability to elude capture for so long deeply frustrated the Bush administration.
The news of the death of the leader of Al Qaeda was bound to electrify the world, particularly as it comes a full decade after American forces, under President Bush, launched their all-out assault to find the man responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.
Since those attacks, Mr. bin Laden was able to elude capture by hiding out in the mountains of Afghanistan and elsewhere. He initially escaped from Tora Bora in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan after an American invasion routed the Taliban, his protectors. Since then, he issued some 30 messages, in audio, video or electronic text. Intelligence officials believe they were passed from hand to hand repeatedly to obscure any trail back to his hiding place. Even while in hiding, he remained a potent symbolic figure. And American officials believe, based on intercepted communications from second- and third-tier Qaeda operatives, that he also still helped shape Al Qaeda’s strategy.
SOURCE: NY TIMES