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Friday
May062011

Obama to SEALs Who Killed Osama bin Laden: 'Job Well Done'

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(FORT CAMPBELL, Ky.) -- President Obama on Friday privately thanked the Navy SEALs who cornered and killed Osama bin Laden, congratulating them for a "job well done."

The president met the elite Team 6 squad on the same day that bin Laden's terror network, al Qaeda, admitted that its leader was dead. Al Qaeda vowed that it would try to make America pay for his death.

Obama met privately with the SEALs and members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the helicopter pilots known as "Night Stalkers," who flew the mission in Pakistan. One battalion of Night Stalkers is headquartered at Fort Campbell, home to the Army's most-deployed contingency forces.

Obama recognized the full assault force with the Presidential Unit Citation, the highest honor that can be given to a unit. Obama said they represented "the finest small fighting force in the history of the world."

Obama and Vice President Biden received a briefing on the operation that included maps, photos and a scale model of the compound. One briefer confirmed that a dog was part of the assault team. When Biden asked its breed, the briefer joked that if officials wanted to meet the dog, "I recommend you bring treats."

Following the private meeting, Obama spoke to approximately 2,200 troops at Ft. Campbell, Ky., who have recently returned from Afghanistan. The Navy SEAL dog was also in attendance.

The statement by al Qaeda was released on the Internet and should end any doubts that the terror mastermind is dead, despite President Obama's refusal to release gruesome photos showing bin Laden's body with a bullet hole in his head.

Al Qaeda said bin Laden's blood "will not be wasted" and Americans' "happiness will turn to sadness." The group pledged to continue attacking America and its allies.

The statement, dated May 3 and signed by "the general leadership" of al Qaeda, also incited Pakistanis to violence, telling them to rise up in revolt against their leaders.

Al Qaeda's statement opens the path for a new leader of the terrorist group to be named. Bin Laden's deputy and the group's possible new leader is Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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