Photos by Aqeel Ahmed/AP; Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP (inset)

bin Laden

2011 News of the Year | Special Operations forces shot and killed Osama bin Laden

Issue: "2011 News of the Year," Dec. 31, 2011

When two dozen U.S. Navy SEALs swooped into a walled compound in northern Pakistan after midnight on May 1, they took less than 40 minutes to end the decade-long hunt for the most wanted man on earth. In a third-story bedroom in the town of Abbottabad, the Special Operations forces shot and killed Osama bin Laden-the founder of the al-Qaeda terror network and the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. The CIA-directed mission didn't just yield bin Laden. U.S. operatives also left the compound with troves of documents, computer drives, and other material that officials immediately began mining for intelligence. President Barack Obama praised the CIA and the U.S. military for "years of painstaking work" that led to bin Laden's capture. As throngs of celebrants gathered outside, he declared in a late-night press conference in the White House East Room: "Justice has been done."

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