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Bin Laden Killed By U.S. Forces; City Increases Security

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TWC News: Bin Laden Killed By U.S. Forces; City Increases Security
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As the president and secretary of state stressed today that the war on terrorism does not end with the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, city agencies have increased security at key locations across the five boroughs.

President Barack Obama announced bin Laden's death during an address to the nation late last night, saying the terrorist was killed during an operation led by United States in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The Pentagon told the Associated Press that bin Laden was identified by name by his wife during the U.S. raid.

Senior U.S. officials told the AP that bin Laden's body was identified by "multiple" methods, including DNA testing and matching physical features, and that they were "99.9 percent" sure that the terrorist was killed.

A U.S. official said bin Laden's body was buried at sea. The official claimed the burial was performed in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition, as the body was buried within 24 hours.

The administration decided to bury bin Laden at sea because it felt finding a country willing to accept his remains on short notice would prove difficult. The location of the burial has not been released.

Both Clinton and Obama cautioned that bin Laden's death does not end the war on terrorism.

"For over two decades, bin Laden has been al-Qaida's leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies," Obama said last night. "The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaida, yet his death does not mark the end of our effort."

Clinton said that the United States must have "increased vigilance," she said she noticed the country has "growing hope and renewed faith."

"Our message to the Taliban remains the same but today it may have even greater resonance. You cannot wait us out, you cannot defeat us, but you can make the choice to abandon al-Qaida and participate in a peaceful political process," said Clinton.

She also added the United States is still committed to supporting the people and government of Pakistan, and that the two countries "cooperated" to lead the United States to bin Laden's compound.

City Remains Vigilant

Speaking by the World Trade Center construction site today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that the city will remain on the defense, but not stall its rebuilding of the site of terror attacks in 1993 and 2001.

"We come to say, with gratitude for the courageous men and women who made it possible, that the forces of freedom and justice have once again prevailed over those who use terror to pursue tyranny," said the mayor. "Osama bin Laden is dead, and the World Trade Center site is teeming with new life. Osama bin Laden is dead, and Lower Manhattan is pulsing with new activity. Osama bin Laden is dead, and New York City’s spirit has never been stronger."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has increased security in the wake of bin Laden's death.

In a statement, MTA officials said they are working with local, state and federal law enforcement partners and that the city transit system is on high alert.

New York City Police Department officials said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly extended the midnight shift last night into this morning, to ensure an increased police presence in the city during the morning rush hour.

Kelly himself said, "While there is no information indicating a specific threat to New York City, members of the service are reminded to remain alert in the aftermath of the announcement that Osama Bin Laden has been killed."

The Port Authority has also increased police presence in their properties, including the World Trade Center site, and made sure all its facilities are open and at a normal level of service.

However, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said there are no plans to raise the nationwide terror alert.

Manhattan Crowds Mark End Of Bin Laden

Throughout the night, the crowd in Times Square continued to grow and included police officers and firefighters who lost colleagues in the September 11th attacks. Many in the crowd likely learned of the news as the tickers scrolled across the massive screens.

Further downtown, a crowd began gathering by the site of the World Trade Center just before midnight Sunday, following Obama's announcement, and by 2 a.m. Monday the area was jammed with people celebrating and singing patriotic songs.

Bagpipe players John Olesin and Francis Cahill took a $150 cab ride from Westchester County to come play at the World Trade Center site.

"We played at Times Square. I thought this was going to be a lot smaller than Times Square, but this is about 10 times Times Square," said Cahill.

Bin Laden's death was a bittersweet victory to those who lost family members during the September 11th attacks. Others who lost loved ones said they had to come down to the site after hearing the news.

"Very relieved, very happy. Never thought this day would come," said Diane Massaroli, who lost her husband on September 11th.

"I lost a lot of friends down here on 9/11 and hopefully it will be some kind of closure for the families," said one person in the crowd.

"I still miss them but I feel like they are resting more peacefully now," said another.

Paula Berry, who lost her husband in the World Trade Center attack and is on the board of the September 11th National Memorial and Museum, saw bin Laden's death as a major event.

"I feel mixed feelings, because it will never change anything for us. It is not as if it is closure," said Paula Berry, who lost her husband in the World Trade Center attack and is on the board of the September 11th National Memorial and Museum.

The museum's preview site on Vesey Street is giving people a look at what they can expect when the museum opens in September.

Joe Daniels, the museum's president, said Bin Laden's death will be added to the narrative.

"The fact that this chapter can close, the death of bin Laden, it's important for everybody," said Daniels. "I'm just so thankful for the men overseas who took bin Laden out."

Meanwhile, reactions to bin Laden's death have been pouring in from the elected officials of New York.

With the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks just months away, the mayor said bin Laden's death does not lessen the suffering but is a critically important victory.

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer also cheered on the military operation in Pakistan.

"You know for those of us here on 9/11 and lived through it, this is that measure of justice done, and I'm just so grateful for President Obama's resolve to never lose the fight on Osama bin Laden," said Gillibrand. "People just believe that this is something that was a measure of justice that needed to happen, and even though it took 10 years it doesn't make this moment less victorious."

Gillibrand played an influential role in the passage of the so-called "Zadroga Bill," which provides health care aid programs for September 11th first responders and victims who became sick after the terror attacks.

In a statement, Governor Andrew Cuomo praised Obama's "vigilance and dedication" in hunting down bin Laden, and said, "New Yorkers endured bin Laden's most devastating and destructive attack, and his death brings back the horrific images and emotions of that terrible day. However, his death also reminds us of our strength, courage, and unity as a people in our response to his actions."

FBI Updates "Most Wanted" List

Now that bin Laden is dead, he is no longer a member of the FBI's most wanted terrorists.

That list was updated early this morning to note bin Laden's death.

There had been a $27 million bounty on his head.

The update includes large a red and white label reading "Deceased" on bin Laden's photograph.

Nine other highly sought terrorists remain on the list, including bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is widely considered his second-in-command.

There is no word on his whereabouts, although it is believed al-Zawahiri's been running much of al-Qaida's operations while bin Laden has been in hiding.

However, senior government officials say information from several captured al-Qaida leaders indicates that al-Zawahiri is not as well respected within the organization.

The United States is offering a $25 million reward leading to al-Zawahiri's capture.

Meanwhile, a top al-Qaida representative who goes by the online name "Assad al-Jihad2" posted a long eulogy for bin Laden on extremist websites and promised to "avenge the killing of the Sheik of Islam."

"The battle between us and international tyranny is long and will not be stopped by the martyrdom of our beloved one, the lion of Islam," said the al-Qaida representative. "How many martyrdom seekers have [been] born today?"

He also said anyone thinking the jihad had ended just had to "wait a little bit."

Both the leader of the Palestinian Hamas government in Gaza and the Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative Egyptian organization, have issued statements condemning the killing of bin Laden.

Details Emerge On Attack On Osama

Details are filling on on the trail intelligence officials followed to Osama bin Laden's location in Abbottabad, Pakistan and how the raid was carried out.

U.S. officials told the AP that key evidence came from CIA interrogations in secret overseas prisons. The information from questioned detainees led intelligence officials to focus in particular on one courier believed to be well-trusted by bin Laden.

In August 2010, the man was traced to a compound in the affluent town of Abbottabad.
Administration officials say the compound was eight times the size of other homes in the area and under intensive security, including high walls topped with barbed wire, internal walls sectioned off to provide extra privacy and access restricted by security gates.

They also noted that residents burned their trash and that despite the fact the property was valued at a million dollars, it had no TV or Internet.

The officials provided few details of the raid itself.

They described it as a "surgical raid" by a small team that was at the compound for under 40 minutes.

They said bin Laden and four others were killed.

Senior government officials said bin Laden did resist and was killed in a firefight.

State Department Alert For U.S. Travelers

The Department of State has issued an alert for Americans traveling abroad.

While there is no specific threat against Americans, the State Department is urging U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas to limit their travel outside of homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations because of possible anti-American violence.

The State Department is also telling Americans to stay current on media coverage, be aware of their surroundings and stay in regular contact with family back home.

U.S. Embassy Operations and government facilities worldwide will remain at a heightened state of alert.

The travel alert expires on August 1. For up-to-date security information, call 1-888-407-4747 or visit travel.state.gov.

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