May 2, 2011
On May 2, 2011 an elite American military unit entered the compound were Osama Bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad Pakistan. Once there they engaged in a brief fire fight and then shot Osama bin Laden. The attacking force made up of 25 Navy Seals and other commandos returned to their helicopters with the Bin Laden's body, other people captured at the compound and documents and computers.
The death of Bin Laden ended one of the longest manhunts in American history that had begun when Bin Laden had ordered the attack on the US Destroyer Cole in 2000. That manhunt became US priority number on after the destruction of the Twin Tower in New York on 9/11. Bin Laden was almost captured in the mountain region of Tor Bora I Afghanistan after the US intervention there in late 2001. The trail went cold soon after and repeated attempts to find him failed.
When the Obama administration began President Obama ordered intelligence assets moved from Iraq to Afghanistan to reinvigorate the hunt. Thanks to a number of intelligence breakthroughs it became clear the Bin Laden was likely to be hiding in the compound in Abbottabad. President Obama and his national security team met a number of times and eventually gave the green light for the mission under the auspices of the Central Intelligence Agency.
In a rare late Sunday night speech President Obama announced the killing of Bin Laden, despite the late hour 11:30 EDT over 58 million people watched the broadcast live. After Bin Ladens body had been studied and DNA proof was obtained as to his identity, he was buried at sea from the USS Carl Vinson.