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How Osama bin Laden died: Details of the commando raid that killed the world's most wanted man

Osama bin laden's housing compound burns in Pakistan

So, in the end it was not a cold, dank Afghan cave that sheltered the world's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden.

It was a huge million-dollar enclave in Abbottabad, Pakistan, with far too much security and 18-foot high walls, way taller than necessary to protect the two couriers who allegedly lived there alone. (See raw video footage below.)

That in the end is what brought the sudden end to Bin Laden's life with a U.S. bullet into his head, among other places, after a circuitous 10-year hunt for the spiritual leader of the global Al Qaeda terrorist franchise and the master plotter of the 9/11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

The hunt began to narrow several years ago when interrogations of Guantanamo Bay detainees produced the nicknames of a pair of highly trusted couriers, used by the captured 9/11 architect Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Bin Laden, who had learned his electronic communications could be monitored by the U.S.

It took nearly two years of CIA analysis to determine the men's real names and to begin ....

... tracking them, ultimately to and from the housing compound that was built in 2005. The compound, according to senior administration officials, was eight times larger than others in the area.

Its occupants burned their trash, rather than putting it out for collection. And strangely, although apparently wealthy from no visible income sources, the occupants had no telephone or Internet links to the outside world.Celebrants of Osama bin Laden's death in Times Square 5-1-11

According to a variety of sources, the raid on the compound was authorized last Friday by President Obama just before he left for Alabama and Florida.

The carefully rehearsed operation struck about 1:30 a.m. Monday local time.

It involved flights from an Afghanistan base by four Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters, one of which suffered mechanical failure and made a hard landing within the compound.

It was later destroyed by the commandos.

About 40 troops, largely Navy SEALs, were involved, with 24 rappelling into the compound from the hovering Chinooks. Officials said the firefight was fierce and significant.

The armed resistance also reportedly came from Bin Laden himself, who was identified by....

....a resident. The U.S. troops gave Osama what was described as a brief opportunity to surrender before firing several times, at least once into the head. During the operation, a photo of his face was transmitted to analysts, who confirmed the identification.

According to Pentagon officials, photos of Bin Laden's dead face do exist but those widely distributed on the Internet are fake. At some point, if only to convince die-hard Bin Laden followers, officials are expected to release a corpse photo, as has been done in the past when famous villains such as Che Guevara and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein were killed or captured. Additionally, such special ops are typically videotaped by mini-helmet cams to document a sensitive mission and assist in debriefing and future training.

Three other adult males died in the 40-minute raid, believed to be Bin Laden's adult son and the two unidentified couriers. One unidentified woman also died as she was being used as a human shield by one of the dead men.

All Americans left safely, loading Bin Laden's body onto the choppers that had landed outside.

The usual protocol for such raids is to have intelligence experts along to comb through and retrieve whatever information they can find onsite. Pakistani television showed the compound burning Sunday night (see photo above), possibly from the helicopter's destruction.

The next tricky maneuver was disposing of Bin Laden's body, which according to Muslim ritual must be buried by sundown Monday. Sunday, American sources said that tradition would be honored, presumably after obtaining DNA samples to match with his known relatives.

However, where to put the body was problematic. Any burial in the ground or mausoleum could become a pilgrimage site for sympathizers of Bin Laden's 22-year-old Al Qaeda operation. So, a burial at sea reportedly ocTwo U.S. Chinooks over Afghanistan's Kandahar provincecurred Monday morning local time at an as yet undisclosed location.

An additional upcoming complication is the possible connection between officials of Pakistan, which has nuclear arms, and the terrorist leader.

The city of about 1 million where the immense Bin Laden compound stood is well-known as a favorite retirement spot for Pakistani generals, meaning the world's most wanted man was living among them. Is it possible they would not know of their infamous neighbor?

In his Sunday statement (full text here) Obama said Pakistan was not informed until after the raid, but praised its president as an ally in the war on terror for helping lead the U.S. to Bin Laden.

One Army veteran who was a longtime operative involved in numerous similar aerial black ops across that region was apprised of the Obama administration's account of the mission.

He said two themes struck him: First was the ability of Bin Laden to live in comfort some 60 miles from Pakistan's capital.

The other theme that struck this career soldier, who participated in the hunt for Bin Laden, could perhaps be expected in political Washington the year before a presidential election.

But it was that such an inherently complex military team operation was being framed by Obama aides to steer way too much credit to the spectators in the White House and away from the unidentified operatives and their vast military support network.

Bin Laden's death ignited immediate spontaneous celebrations in front of the White House, in Times Square and at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. It also prompted warnings of increased possibility of threats against Americans and American targets abroad.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press via GeoTV; Chip East / Reuters (Times Square celebrants of Bin Laden's death); Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images (Two U.S. Chinook helicopters over Afghanistan's Kandahar province).

Comments () | Archives (65)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Namit read your history. Che was a mass murderer.

so, to the left, it's ok to kill em, but you better not waterboard em.

May he burn in Hell.

I can't believe people are congratulating Obama for all this when he was going to cut the troops pay in half a few weeks ago. Obama just had to give permission that's all. Good job too all the troops fighting, and the special forces for carrying out the mission.

IMO the US should release photographic evidence of Bin Laden's death but refrain from publicating all the details on how the bastard was tracked down since they're profiding information to other terrorists which is going to make them change their tactics and communications infrastructure making it even harder to locate these types in the future.

so coooooool!!!, osama bin laden is fish food afterall

Hi i think osama ben ladin is not dead because no pictues have been seen or vidoes

Who will replace Osama?


--- are caward and no sharp brian,dose who beleive about osama dealth,how can a terror and mastar of gangtar die such lik dat without no effort and powerless,osama cant be easily capture onder a minor gangsta lik 6sama can be easily blast lik dat.withen 10Year u wil ear of d master,superior and most wanted hero ever.

great job....justice has been done

Why amarican government refused to show osama's dead body to the world?

The Death of Bin Laden and the Illuminati Conspiracy

My name is Aaron Fleszar and I’d like to expose, with your help, the largest conspiracy in world history. Most people don’t believe in conspiracies or conspiracy theories, I know because I was one of them. The thing about a conspiracy is it cannot be proven, if it could, it wouldn’t be a conspiracy. I will try and make this as simple as possible so that you can follow my logic and likely reach the same conclusions.

What do we know about Osama Bin Laden that we haven’t been told by the media? We know that he is a spokesperson for Al-Qaeda. Once or twice a year, this guy appears in video, pointing his finger, from a tape that mysteriously arrives at the Al-Jazeera network. If Osama Bin Laden is only spokesperson, and not a mastermind, who makes up the organization behind him?

Even a president is only a spokesperson. A president surrounds himself with an administration that advises him. There is always a force behind a president with an agenda. Sometimes that agenda is known, sometimes it’s not.

Are we being mislead by Osama Bin Laden and the organization behind him? Could Osama be the spokesperson for a New World Order, the richest people in the world who would like to take over the government? Could Osama be a distraction, and a catalyst, for starting an endless war on terror, increasing defense department spending, lining the pockets of defense contractors, and driving up the price of oil?

Could the attacks on 9/11 be attacks against capitalism? Is Al-Qaeda or New World Order’s goal to destroy capitalism? Would destroying capitalism allow the richest people in the world a chance to implement socialism, get wealthier by collapsing the dollar, and allow them to institute a one world currency, only to enslave the rest of the world to their New World Order government?

Everyone knows that something happened on 9/11 that is being covered up, but what is it? Is it that planes didn’t collapse 2 buildings which fell with precision as if they were being brought down by a controlled demolition? Is it that no one ever talks about the third building which collapsed that never got hit by an airplane? Were the planes nothing more than misdirection, or an illusion, created by Al-Qaeda/New World Order, also known as “the Illuminati?”

Written across thousands of get rich quick scams online there is a code. Al-Qaeda or NWO appears to be using the internet to take over all ecommerce and media. Several people making up this code are look a likes for people associated with the current administration, in addition to media moguls, and CEO’s.

Several of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists make up this code online. They are wanted for US embassy bombings in Kenya, Obama’s family’s birthplace, and Indonesia, a place where Obama spent many years as a child.

What’s interesting about the Al-Qaeda organization online, that literally own the internet, is that this same group of marketing experts ran the last election on Youtube. Could the organization behind Osama Bin Laden be the New World Order Illuminati? Could the organization behind the election of Obama, be the same group? Could Osama be the look a like to represent Obama, and Biden, Bi(nla)den?

It’s not a conspiracy when it’s taking place right in front of you. There is just an overwhelming amount of misinformation to try and prevent you from connecting the dots. Keep in mind that the Illuminati, or New World Order, are masters at illusion.

It’s important for the future of America that you tell others immediately about this website. Email and text everyone you know and tell them to read this website. When enough people start demanding honest answers, we will finally learn the truth to what really happened on 9/11.

Thank you for reading this,
Aaron M Fleszar

"...when famous villains such as Che Guevara.."

It's always funny to read "news" from a biased news site like this one. What a buch of garbage

I’m not sure what’s more hilarious, the idiotic story’s coming out of Washington daily the media is cooperating with and having to report on, or the idiotic attempts to alter, delete comments, shut down news stories, create log in errors, or post about tin foil hats after every comment discrediting the government.

Finally, people have started to figure out that Osama Obama Biden Bin Laden is more than a coincidence. There’s a reason why Osama was pinned down, killed and thrown in the ocean immediately following the release of Obama’s doctored birth certificate. In the name of national security (job security) the feds don’t think you can handle the truth.

Many supporters have been copying my blog postings while others have created their own blogs connecting the dots between the New World Order and the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists. What follows is a link to a site that features a number of the most wanted with their online aliases. I encourage you to draw your own conclusions and not let others influence you. 2 groups are working 24 hours a day to suppress this story, our intelligence agencies, and Al-Qaeda. Neither group wants you to learn any of this. They only want you focused on the 2012 election.

Thank you,

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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