Osama bin Laden killed by US forces
VIDEO: Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the September 11 2001 terror attacks that led to the war in Afghanistan, has been killed in a firefight, President Barack Obama said.
Bin Laden's death at a compound in Pakistan ended the world's most widely-watched manhunt.
Jubilant crowds gathered outside the White House in Washington and at ground zero in New York as word spread late on Sunday night.
"Justice has been done," the US president said in a televised statement.
A small team of Americans killed bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad, about 60 miles north of the capital Islamabad. The team took custody of his remains and American officials said they were being handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.
Three men were also killed in the helicopter raid, including one of bin Laden's sons, whom officials did not name. One of bin Laden's sons, Hamza, is a senior member of al Qaida.
The death of the world's most wanted man came just months before the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, orchestrated by bin Laden's al Qaida organisation, that killed more than 3,000 people.
Former president George Bush, who was in office on the day of the attacks, issued a statement hailing bin Laden's death as a momentous achievement. He said: "The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."
Mr Obama said he ordered the operation after receiving undisclosed intelligence information.
Senior US administration officials said the terrorist mastermind was found inside a custom-built compound with two security gates. They said it appeared to have been constructed to harbour one high-value target and officials became clear the hideout was bin Laden's.
Officials also said they believe the death puts al Qaida on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse, but there was no word on the whereabouts of bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri.