UPDATE • Local political leaders say the Al Qaeda leader's killing is a 'milestone' for changing Middle East
by: Courtesy of AFP Last night U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States has killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Fireworks went off in Northeast Portland as city residents reacted late Sunday night to the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a raid on a fortified compound in Pakistan.

Area residents both celebrated and solemnly marked the occasion with prayers Monday.

The Rev. Chuck Currie, a well-known Portland-area peace activist, said fireworks went off in his Northeast neighborhood following the Sunday night announcement by President Obama that bin Laden had been killed.

'Let us pray together tonight - no matter our place in the world - for peace and reconciliation in the aftermath of years of terror and war,' Currie said.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkely congratulated Obama for the successful military operation that killed the Al Qaeda leader.

'I salute President Obama and his exceptional team on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice,' Merkley said Monday morning. 'The president's resolute determination and the hard work, perseverance and bravery of so many in the United States intelligence community and military ensured that attacks on Americans would not go unanswered.'

Senior Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said bin Laden's death was a 'milestone' as citizens across the Middle East push for change in their governments, sometimes peacefully.

'While killing bin Laden cannot bring back the innocents whose lives he took, it is my hope that the news of his death will bring some measure of peace to their loved ones,' Wyden said. 'But it is important for the world to understand that the operation that led to bin Laden's death was not an act of revenge - it was an act of war.

'Al Qaeda has now lost its founder and leader at a time when the organization is under intense pressure and is already in crisis. The peaceful revolutions that have been spreading throughout the Middle East directly refute bin Laden's core claim that violent terrorist acts are the only way to bring change to the Muslim world.'

U.S. Rep. David Wu, a Hillsdale Democrat representing Oregon's 1st Congressional District, praised the military unit that took part in the operation to kill the Al Qaeda leader.

'I join all Americans in marking this historic moment with great pride in the men and women of our military and intelligence community,' Wu said. 'As people across our nation continue to gather in the streets, we remember the victims of Sept. 11 (2001) and the families that have waited nearly a decade for justice.'

Wu also noted the high cost of the American efforts to capture or kill bin Laden since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed more than 3,000 people in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

No trial for Al Qaeda leader

Obama told the nation in his address late Sunday night that bin Laden was killed during a targeted operation launched against a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a city about 60 miles north of Islamabad. No Americans were killed in the assault, Obama said.

But Dan Handelman of Portland Peace and Justice Works, sent President Obama a letter complaining that bin Laden was killed without being brought to trial.

In his letter, Handelman said the organization deplored both the deaths of those killed in Sept. 11, 2001, and in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

'And yes, we also mourn the death of Osama bin Laden, not because we agreed with his tactics or message, but because our government has killed him in our name with no trial, due process, or other forms of justice that we used to pride ourselves on as a nation,' Handelman wrote.

Bin Laden's body was buried at sea after his identity was confirmed by photographs and DNA tests.

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