Leaders react to Osama bin Laden's death

Reaction to the news that Osama bin Laden has been killed by US forces has been greeted with unashamed joy in the United States and cautious optimism from the rest of the Western world.

World leaders

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said bin Laden was responsible for thousands of deaths, including New Zealanders, around the world. He said that while it would not necessarily bring an immediate end to terrorist activity, he had "absolutely no doubt" that the world was now a safer place.

"I welcome the death of Osama bin Laden. I welcome the news," Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters.

"Whilst Al-Qaeda has been hurt today, Al-Qaeda is not finished. Our war against terrorism must continue."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated US President Barack Obama for "this victory for justice, liberty and the common values of democratic nations which fought side by side against terrorism."

British Prime Minister David Cameron says the news will "bring great relief to people across the world".

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper said Canada had received the news with "sober satisfaction".

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said the killing did not lessen the suffering that New Yorkers and Americans had experienced at his hands, but it was a "critically important victory" for the US.

US public

The confirmation of bin Laden's death has seen Americans celebrate, with a crowd soon forming outside the White House in the wake of the news, chanting "USA! USA!" and singing the national anthem.

Family members of those killed in the 9/11 attacks have publicly said their lost loved ones could now rest in peace.

Members of congress have showed similar elation. Rep. Tim Walz - the highest ranking enlisted man in Congress - said justice had been served. Michele Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, gleefully reacted to the death on Facebook in advance of Obama's statement.

Steve Hadley, national security adviser to President George W. Bush, said the death of Osama bin Laden "is a great day for America."

Former presidents

Former President George W. Bush said in a statement that President Obama called him to inform him of the news of bin Laden's death.

He said the operation was a "momentous achievement" that "marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001."

Bill Clinton also issued a written statement congratulating Obama.

"I congratulate the President, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous Al-Qaeda attacks," he said.

Financial markets

The US dollar rose against both the Euro and the Yen after the reports of bin Laden's death, while there were also falls in crude oil prices.

US stock prices also rose in the aftermath of the news, with the standard & Poor's 500 Index rising by almost 1% in the immediate aftermath of the announcement.

Al-Qaeda

There has been no official reaction from Al-Qaeda, although Egyptian-born doctor and surgeon Ayman al-Zawahri is the number two man in the organisation and is likely to take over the role.

A more terrifying possibility was raised last month, when Wikileaks documents revealed that a senior al Qaeda commander claimed that the terror group has stashed away a nuclear bomb in Europe that would be detonated if bin Laden was ever caught or assassinated.

- AGENCIES

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