President Obama on late Sunday night announced the death of Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks that triggered the U.S. global war on terror.

Amazingly the President also said that there were no casualties on the US side.

A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability, the President said.  No Americans were harmed.  They took care to avoid civilian casualties.  After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

After the 9-11 attacks, former President Bush ordered U.S. forces into Afghanistan to find Bin Laden and shut down his Al Qaeda terrorist network. With other Al Qaeda plotters killed or in custody-- Bin Laden had eluded capture for almost a decade.

He had been the subject of a search since he eluded U.S. soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains in 2001. The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.

Obama said he was briefed last August on a possible lead to find Bin Laden in a compound in Pakistan and that on Sunday a small team of Americans was able to kill Bin Laden after a firefight and take custody of his body.

Bin Laden, a Saudi national, is believed to have established terrorist group al-Qaeda, which means ''The Base'' in Arabic, in 1998.

He used his family's wealth - accumulated through Saudi Arabia's oil boom - to set up training camps in Afghanistan and to plan attacks against other countries.

The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date, Obama said, to bring down Al Qaeda.

Besides September 11, Washington has also linked bin Laden to a string of attacks -- including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.