2011 World In Review, Part 1: Bin Laden Death, Middle East Revolutions, European Riots Bring Great Changes
Revolutions that swept across the Middle East, toppling governments and presidents that had ruled for more than a generation, were just some of the major stories that made news around the world this year. NY1's Cheryl Wills takes a look back in the first part of a two-part report.
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The death of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden sent people rushing into the streets on May 1, not only in New York City but all across the world. After a decade on the run, the architect of the September 11th attacks was killed in a overnight firefight with elite American forces in Pakistan.
Bin Laden's body was quickly buried at sea, marking the final chapter in a wave of terror that left thousands of innocent people dead.
A stunning uprising in Egypt led to 18 days of demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Cairo, condemning the corrupt 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian president resigned on February 11 and the country sees its first free elections in decades in December.
Unrest in the Middle East also incited violent protests in Syria, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya, which culminated in the death of Libya's former leader, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, on October 20.
With the end of Gadhafi's 42-year reign, President Barack Obama said "the dark shadow of tyranny" had finally been lifted in that country.
On October 21, Obama announced that all American troops would leave Iraq by year’s end, bringing the U.S. mission which started in March 2003 to a close. More than 4,000 American soldiers were killed at a cost of more than $700 billion.
There were also troop reductions in Afghanistan, as 10,000 soldiers left by the end of 2011. An additional 23,000 will leave in summer 2012.
The United Kingdom witnessed its worst unrest in more than a generation this summer, as a wave of looting and violence raged across three cities. It is believed up to 15,000 people are actively involved in the public unrest between August 6-10.
The peaceful and quiet nation of Norway is shattered in a wave of terror on July 22, when a car bomb explodes in Oslo, killing eight people.
That was followed by a right-wing extremist dressed in a police uniform murdering 69 people at a Norwegian youth summer camp. The massacre triggered an outpouring of support from around the world.