Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that struck New York City and Washington, D.C., was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan last Monday.
In a televised statement to the nation late Sunday night, President Barack Obama declared '"justice has been done," but admitted the fight against terrorism is far from over.
It was a speech Americans waited years to hear.
"On nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al-Qaeda's terror: Justice has been done," Obama said.
"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. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body," Obama said.
Bin Laden was finally killed during a firefight with a team of elite counter terrorism troops at a mansion in Pakistan. A U.S. official said the compound was "custom built to hide someone of significance."
The CIA had discovered the compound which was near Pakistan's capital. U.S. military force using four helicopters attacked the compound to eliminate the man who sanctioned the hijacking of four airline passenger jets to kill nearly 3,000 people on 9/11.
"We are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to," Obama said.
Within minutes of the president's announcement, celebrations erupted in Washington, D.C.
"I'm in shock," one person said.
Americans in New York City near Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks, also welcomed the news.
"I don't know that it's going to make our country any safer, but at least we have the satisfaction of knowing that he's not even alive anymore," one person said.
"I can't tell you the national pride that I feel here and being visiting from Texas, being in Times Square when this was being announced, just so much pride for our country," one tourist said.
"People have lost their lives because of Osama bin Laden and I think this has been a long time coming. So I think I speak for a lot of people in Times Square and Ground Zero who felt that this has taken along time but it's time to celebrate," another person said.
Officials say U.S. forces took custody of bin Laden's body. It was treated with respect under Islamic tradition and was buried at sea because the U.S. did not want his burial place to become a shrine for terrorists.