COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's Republican-dominated congressional delegation on Monday congratulated the Obama administration on the death of Osama bin Laden but also noted that the death doesn't mark an end to the country's efforts fighting terrorism.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and learned of the strike via a call from Vice President Joe Biden, warned that al-Qaida forces likely will aim to take revenge on the U.S., urging American forces to stay vigilant.
"It should be clearly understood that there is no safe hiding spot for those who harm the American people," Graham said. "Those who act against our nation will be relentlessly pursued and they will be brought to justice."
Bin Laden was killed near the end of the 40-minute raid Sunday on the Pakistan compound where he had been living, U.S. officials said. Navy SEALs retrieved bin Laden's body, which was subsequently buried at sea, and turned detainees over to Pakistani authorities.
Military officials over the weekend prepared for possible threats against U.S. installations as the team moved in on bin Laden. At Fort Jackson -- the Army's largest training site where 60,000 soldiers graduate from its schools every year -- upped its threat level Sunday because national military activity raised the possibility of retaliation against U.S. assets worldwide.
Graham also mentioned the impending trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks mastermind who is set to go on trial. Current and former U.S. officials said Monday that Mohammed provided them with the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden's most trusted aides, information that helped U.S. forces locate bin Laden's Pakistan compound.
In a separate statement, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint called the attack "confirmation to freedom's enemies around the world about the inevitable end of a life of terror" and thanked Obama "for pursuing the necessary policies to bring about today's success."
Two of the state's freshman GOP congressmen, Reps. Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney, added former President George W. Bush to their lists of officials deserving commendations for the action. Fellow freshman Reps. Trey Gowdy and Tim Scott said bin Laden's death marked an incremental victory against terrorists and thanked service members for serving on the front lines.
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina's senior House Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the successful strike proves the accuracy of U.S. intelligence efforts in the region.
"The Al Qaida leader's demise is a testament to the determination of our military, counterterrorism, and intelligence officials," Wilson said in a statement. "Let this serve as a lesson to any terrorist organization aiming to harm Americans and our way of life, there will be severe consequences for your actions. Our resolve is stronger than ever."
South Carolina's sole congressional Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn, said that bin Laden's death brings some solace nearly a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks. "And although many years have passed, we still struggle with the wounds ripped open that day," he said. "This finally brings some closure to those wounds."