Reactions to Bin Laden's Death A Victory For the US, Justice and the War on Terror

World leaders and senior political figures have been congratulating US President Barack Obama for the killing of Osama bin Laden and say justice has finally been done, almost 10 years after 9/11. But they have warned that bin Laden's removal alone won't stop Islamist terror.

Crowds gather at Ground Zero in New York to celebrate the killing of top terrorist Osama bin Laden on Sunday night.

Crowds gather at Ground Zero in New York to celebrate the killing of top terrorist Osama bin Laden on Sunday night.

World leaders hailed the death of Osama bin Laden in a US commando operation on Sunday night as a victory for justice, for the US and for the fight against terrorism, but warned that it did not mean al-Qaida was finished, and that the world needed to remain vigilant.

The 54-year-old Saudi-born al-Qaida leader had been the most wanted man in the world since 2001 when he helped orchestrate the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that killed almost 3,000 people.

As Americans flocked onto streets across the US to celebrate the news, government heads congratulated US President Barack Obama, who had ordered the strike by US special forces against a compound near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad where bin Laden had been hiding.

"The news that Osama Bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world," said British Prime Minister David Cameron. "It is a great success that he has been found and will no longer be able to pursue his campaign of global terror."

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The office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement: "Osama bin Laden claimed to be acting in the name of Islam but in truth he made a mockery of the fundamental values of his and all other religions. The forces of peace achieved a victory last night. But that doesn't mean international terrorism has been beaten yet. We will all have to remain vigilant."

'Victory for America'

Former US President George W. Bush, who was president at the time of the 9/11 attacks and who launched the hunt for bin Laden said: "This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."

At Ground Zero in New York, thousands sang the US national anthem, popped champagne, drank from beer bottles and threw rolls of toilet paper into the air. Another big crowd gathered in New York's Times Square.

With all the gloom and doom around us, we all needed this. Evil has been ripped from the world," Guy Madsen, 49, a salesman from Clifton, New Jersey, who drove to Lower Manhattan with his 14-year-old son, told Reuters. Some people held pictures of loved ones who died.

In Washington, thousands of people gathered outside the White House chanting "USA, USA, USA."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement: "New Yorkers have waited nearly 10 years for this news. It is my hope that it will bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001."

The Pakistani foreign ministry issued a statement saying the killing highlighted the resolve of Pakistan and the international community to combat terrorism.

Bin Laden wasn't living in a remote mountain cave as had been generally assumed but in a million-dollar residence in Abbottabad, a relatively affluent town reported to be home to many retired members of Pakistan's military. It is just 50 kilometers north of Islamabad.

cro -- with wire reports


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