Osama bin Laden dead, reports

Dead: Osama bin Laden
Dead: Osama bin Laden

OSAMA bin Laden is dead.

The leader of al Qaida was killed in Pakistan, where he was staying in a compound outside the capital, Islamabad.

A top secret operation involving US special forces was responsible for an attack on bin Laden’s hideout early on Sunday.

A small US team launched the attack. The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed in the ensuing firefight.

The stunning news was announced by US President Barack Obama from the east room of the White House late on Sunday evening in a live TV broadcast (about 1.40pm Monday AEST).

Mr Obama offered little details about the attack, but said Pakistani intelligence sources had been supportive of the operation.

"Justice has been done,” he told the American people. “Today’s achievement is testament to the greatness of our country.”

The Saudi-born leader of al-Qaeda had been hunted since a series of attacks on Western targets including the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington that levelled the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and hit the Pentagon.

It has been nearly 10 years since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, which bin Laden was accused of masterminding.

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