May 5, 2011

Inside bin Laden's lair with SEAL Team Six

Calvin Woodward, The Associated Press

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

In this photo take Tuesday, local people and media gather outside the perimeter wall and sealed gate of the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Related headlines

It is not confirmed whether the shots came from one commando, two or in a spray of gunfire.

After the nerve-wracking, nearly half-hour gap in information from the scene, Washington got word that "Geronimo" was killed in action.

The raiders' work was not done.

They quickly swept the compound, retrieving possibly crucial records on the operations of al-Qaida.

They destroyed the chopper that gave them trouble. This renewed worries that Pakistani authorities would discover the mission prematurely. Neighbors certainly noticed.

"We had to blow the helicopter," Panetta said, "and that probably woke up a lot of people, including the Pakistanis."

The non-combatants, their hands bound with plastic ties as the operation unfolded, were left for Pakistani officials to round up.

About 10 days before the raid, Obama was briefed on the plan. It included keeping two backup helicopters just outside Pakistani airspace in case something went wrong. But Obama felt that was risky. If the SEALs needed help, they couldn't afford to wait for backup.

He said the operation needed a plan in case the SEALs had to fight their way out. So two Chinooks were sent into Pakistani airspace, loaded with backup teams, just in case. One of those Chinooks landed in the compound after the Black Hawk became inoperable.

The raiders scrambled aboard the remaining Black Hawk and a Chinook, bin Laden's body with them, and flew to the USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea. The ground operation had taken about 40 minutes.

Only after the Americans left the area was Pakistan informed of what had happened on its territory.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen called Pakistani Army chief Ashfaq Kayani to tell him that an operation he had not known about was complete, a U.S. official told AP. Panetta called his Pakistani counterpart shortly afterward.

Mere hours after the operation, before most of the world knew bin Laden was found and killed, his body was buried at sea.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)