As news of Osama bin Laden's death spread Sunday night, many Illinois residents expressed joy--and others said they were nervous about potential retaliation.
Late Sunday, fireworks went off in the Humboldt Park neighborhood and residents cheered as President Obama told the nation that the man behind the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been killed by U.S. Armed Forces.
“I think it’s about the right time America got together and nailed this punk,” local comedian Junior Stopka told the crowd at Cleo’s Bar in West Town late Sunday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Illinois politicians on both sides of the aisle congratulated President Obama and the U.S. military for bringing bin Laden to justice.
“I was advised by Vice President Biden this Sunday evening that Osama bin Laden has been killed," U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said in a statement. "Though this is not the end of the threat of terrorism, it is a clear warning to our enemies that when they threaten and kill Americans, they will be pursued and held accountable. Our nation owes a great debt of gratitude to our intelligence community and military for pursuing this manhunt for almost ten years and successfully eliminating the most high profile terrorist on earth. Those who believed bin Laden and his network were invincible will now awaken to a new reality.”
Sen. Mark Kirk reacted to the news via Twitter late Sunday.
"Thank you and Bravo Zulu to all service members and CIA who have sacrificed so much for this day," he wrote.
As crowds gathered at Ground Zero in New York and near the Pentagon in Washington Sunday night, Naperville's Pat Shanower--whose son was killed in the Pentagon on September 11--told the Chicago Tribune she was relieved, but said the war on terror is far from over.
"It doesn't bring closure," Shanower told the Tribune. "It's one step, I hope, for an eventual peace for our country. We've lost thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans who've given their lives trying to bring an end to al-Qaida."
NBC Chicago spoke with Northwestern University Professor and Homeland Security contractor Mike Fagel about potential retaliation by other terrorist groups. He said Chicagoans should be alert when traveling, but urged people not to panic.
“I definitely think there’s going to be a backlash,” Tirra Pitman of Joliet told CBS 2 Chicago. “The Taliban’s leader has now found out. They’re really going to go crazy.”
Dr. Zaher Sahloul, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, told the Tribune his organization was happy to hear of bin Laden's demise.
"I think all of us were waiting for this to happen, and thank God it finally did," he told the paper.WATCH some local reactions to the news of bin Laden's death here: