POSTED: Sunday, May 1, 2011 - 9:59pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 5, 2011 - 5:26am
(MSNBC) - — Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was slain in his luxury hideout in Pakistan early Monday in a firefight with U.S. forces, ending a manhunt that spanned a frustrating decade.
"Justice has been done," President Barack Obama declared as crowds formed outside the White House to celebrate. Many sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "We Are the Champions," NBC News reported.
Bin Laden, 54, was killed after a gunbattle with Navy SEALs and CIA paramilitary forces at a compound in the city of Abbottabad. He was shot in the head, NBC News reported.
Citing a U.S. official, NBC News said that bin Laden opened fire on the American forces before he was killed.
The special operations forces were on the ground for less than 40 minutes and the operation was watched in real-time by CIA director Leon Panetta and other intelligence officials in a conference room at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, an official said on condition of anonymity.
The team returned to Afghanistan with bin Laden's body, U.S. officials said.
NBC News reported that bin Laden was later buried at sea.
Islamic tradition calls for a body to be buried within 24 hours, but finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, a senior administration official said.
The U.S. was conducting DNA testing and used facial recognition techniques to help formally identify him, Reuters reported. Results of the DNA tests were expected to be available in the next few days.