Before he announced to the nation that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a strategic raid by American Special Forces, President Obama personally briefed his predecessors, George W. Bush, who launched the War on Terror during his tenure in office, and President Bill Clinton.
Said former President Bush in a statement: “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 September 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.”
Clinton’s statement said: “This is a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaida’s other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and cooperation for our children. I congratulate the President, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al-Qaida attacks.”
In his White House message Sunday night, President Obama underscored that America is not at war with Islam. “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims,” said the chief executive. “Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.” The President added, “Justice has been served.”
Immediately after news of bin Laden’s death was announced, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs issued the following worldwide travel warning: “The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad to the enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan. Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. This Travel Alert expires August 1, 2011.”
• With reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL