By BRIAN ROSS (@brianross) , JAKE TAPPER (@jaketapper) , RICHARD ESPOSITO and NICK SCHIFRIN (@nickschifrin)
May 2, 2011
The U.S. had been monitoring the compound in Abbottabad for months after receiving a tip in August that Bin Laden might be seeking shelter there. He had long been said to be in the mountainous region along the Afghanistan, Pakistan border, hiding in a cave as the U.S. sought to kill him with drone strikes from above. Instead, he was in a house eight times larger than its neighbors, with a seven-foot wall and valued at $1 million. The house had no phone of television and the residents burned their trash. The house had high windows and few points of access, and U.S. officials concluded it had been built to hide someone.
According to U.S. officials, two U.S. helicopters swept into the compound at 1:30 and 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Twenty to 25 U.S. Navy Seals under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command in cooperation with the CIA stormed the compound and engaged Bin Laden and his men in a firefight, killed Bin Laden and all those with him.
Two Bin Laden couriers were killed, as was one of Osama Bin Laden's son, as was a woman reportedly used as a shield by one of the men. Other women and children were present in the compound, according to Pakistani officials, but were not harmed. U.S. officials said that Bin Laden himself did fire his weapon during the fight.
One of the U.S. helicopters was damaged but not destroyed during the operation, and U.S. forces elected to destroy it themselves with explosives.
The Americans took Bin Laden's body into custody after the firefight and confirmed his identity. According to a senior administration official, the U.S. is "ensuring it is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition. It's something we take seriously and therefore it's being handled in an appropriate manner."
According to Pakistani officials, the operation was a joint U.S.-Pakistani operation, but U.S. officials said only U.S. personnel were involved in the raid.
"The United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda and a terrorist responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children," said President Obama Sunday night in an address to the nation. "A small team of Americans carried out with the operation with extraordinary courage. After a firefight, they killed Osama Bin Laden, and took custody of his body."
Abbottabad is a city of 90,000 in the Orash Valley, north of Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, and east of Peshawar.
Reportedly killed in a mansion outside the Pakistani capital (or was he finally thawed out?)