US President Barack Obama has announced that US forces have killed Al-Qaeda founder and leader Osama Bin Laden.

In a live broadcast from the White House, Obama said the al-Qaeda leader was killed in a ground operation, which was the result of intelligence that emerged last August.

Obama said after “a firefight” US forces took possession of his body.

Bin Laden was accused of being behind a number of atrocities, including the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Despite being top of the US’ “most wanted” list with a $25m bounty on his head, Bin Laden has evaded the forces of the US and its allies for almost a decade.

His death will be seen as a major blow to al-Qaeda, but also raise fears of reprisal attacks.

Mr Obama said he had been briefed last August on a possible lead to Bin Laden’s whereabouts. It led to intelligence that the al-Qaeda leader was hiding in a compound deep within Pakistan.

The president authorised an operation to “get Bin Laden” last week, and on Sunday a small team of US forces undertook the operation.

Former US President Bill Clinton said in a statement: “This is a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaeda’s other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and cooperation for our children.”

Mr Clinton’s successor, President George W Bush, described the news as a “momentous achievement”, reports the BBC.

“The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” Mr Bush said in a statement.