This Day in History (2-May-2011) – A night raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan by American special operations kills Osama bin Laden

In 2007, U.S. intelligence uncovered the name of one of bin Laden’s most trusted couriers. By August 2010, they identified the Abbottabad compound in Pakistan as the home of the courier and his brother. In a months’ time, the CIA informed President Barack Obama that bin Laden may be living in the Abbottabad compound. They based this on the size and price tag of the compound as well as the elaborate security. Satellites performed more than 387 “collects” of high-resolution and infrared images of the Abbottabad compound in the month before the raid.  In March and April 2011, President Obama chaired the five National Security Council meetings to discuss an operation to raid bin Laden’s compound. On 29th April morning, Obama gave the order to raid bin Laden’s compound.

Operation Neptune was launched in full coordination with the Pakistani Air Force and  ground forces. A group of 25 Navy Seals allegedly flew from the Jalalabad airbase in Afghanistan in the two ‘modified’ Black Hawk helicopters and landed in Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound some 90 minutes later in the early morning hours of 2nd May. The operation took 40 minutes total. U.S. Special Forces breached the outer walls of the compound before fighting their way through the ground floor of the three story building where bin Laden lived. The firefight then moved to the second and third floors where the bin Laden family lives. In the last 5-10 minutes of the firefight, bin Laden was killed by a gunshot wound to the head, above the left eye. Three men, including a son of bin Laden, were killed as well as one woman.  Bin Laden’s body was identified by one of his wives.

Eight hours after the raid, a forensic intelligence laboratory run by the Defense Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan analyzed DNA from bin Laden’s corpse and “provided a conclusive match” confirming his identity.  He was buried at sea off the deck of the USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea, within 24 hours according to Islamic law. On 6th May, Al Qaeda confirmed bin Laden’s death, in a statement on jihadist forums.

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