Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Osama bin Laden ‘died shooting as wife tried to shield him’

MIAMI, FL - MAY 02: Bob Kunst holds a sign that reads, "Thank G-D Osama Bin Laden is Dead" as he and two others from Shalom International hold a rally to bring attention to the plight of Israel as well as to show their support for the action that killed Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in was slain in Pakistan during a firefight with U.S. forces. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Penn State senior Jake Librizzi holds an American flag as he and others fill Beaver Canyon Avenue in downtown State College, Pa., around midnight on Sunday, May 1, 2011
BOSTON, MA - MAY 2: Flowers and an American flag lay on the Garden of Remembrance May 2, 2011 in the Boston Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Families of local victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks gathered at the 9/11 memorial to reflect upon the death of Osama Bin Laden. Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: People look out at Ground Zero a day after the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in New York City. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a late night address to the nation from the White House in Washington on May 1. The mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks was killed in an American military operation at a compound in Pakistan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: A U.S. soldier walks by newspaper clippings on a wall at Ground Zero heralding the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in New York City. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a late night address to the nation from the White House in Washington on May 1. The mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks was killed in an American military operation at a compound in Pakistan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
SHANKSVILLE, PA - MAY 2: Scott and Walter Neilly, brothers, from Bradford, Pa look over the crash site of Flight 93 following the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan May 2, 2011 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 10 years after September 11, 2001 construction is underway to erect a formal memorial at the crash site. Last night U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011
Angry supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam burn representation of the United States during a rally to condemn the killing of Osama bin Laden in Quetta, Pakistan on Monday, May 2, 2011. al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was slain in his hideout in Pakistan early Monday in a firefight with U.S. forces, ending a manhunt that spanned a decade. (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)(AP Photo/Arshad Butt)
WASHINGTON - MAY 02: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) speaks as Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd (L) listens during a post-meeting joint press availability May 2, 2011 at the State Department in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton said in a statement earlier that the death of Osama Bin Laden does not end the battle with al-Qaida. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 2: An armored Park Police vehicle sits parked at the base of the Washington Monument May 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. The DC area and other places around the nation have stepped up security after it was announced that Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the September 11th terror attacks, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Kevin Van Orden, whose brother is in the U.S. Army, celebrates outside the World Trade Center site after the death of accused 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was announced May 2, 2011 in New York City. Bin Laden was killed in an operation by U.S. Navy Seals in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Ground Zero is viewed a day after the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in New York City. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a late night address to the nation from the White House in Washington on May 1. The mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks was killed in an American military operation at a compound in Pakistan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: A woman poses near the back of a newspaper vendor displaying a paper heralding the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in New York City. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a late night address to the nation from the White House in Washington on May 1. The mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks was killed in an American military operation at a compound in Pakistan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Imagecs)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02: A passer by looks at newspaper headlines reporting the death of Osama Bin Laden, in front of the Newseum, on May 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. Last night U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Workers at Ground Zero listen as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a news conference at Ground Zero following the announcement of the death of al Qaeda founder and leader Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in New York City. U.S. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a late night address to the nation from the White House in Washington on May 1. The mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks was killed in an American military operation at a compound in Pakistan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Workers at Ground Zero listen as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a news conference at Ground Zero following the announcement of the death of al Qaeda founder and leader Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in New York City. U.S. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a late night address to the nation from the White House in Washington on May 1. The mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks was killed in an American military operation at a compound in Pakistan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stands with dignitaries and family of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks at news conference at Ground Zero following the announcement of the death of al Qaeda founder and leader Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in New York City. U.S. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a late night address to the nation from the White House in Washington on May 1. The mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks was killed in an American military operation at a compound in Pakistan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan (L) and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
SHANKSVILLE, PA - MAY 2: Jeff Ray and his wife, Barbara, of Shanksville, Pa look over the crash site of Flight 93 following the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan May 2, 2011 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 10 years after September 11, 2001 construction is underway to erect a formal memorial at the crash site. Last night U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
SHANKSVILLE, PA - MAY 2: Jeff Ray of Shanksville, Pa holds a sign he made as he looks over the crash site of Flight 93 following the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan May 2, 2011 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 10 years after September 11, 2001 construction is underway to erect a formal memorial at the crash site. Last night U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
SHANKSVILLE, PA - MAY 2: Visitors Kathy Reid and Donna Warren look over the crash site of Flight 93 following the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan May 2, 2011 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 10 years after September 11, 2001 construction is underway to erect a formal memorial at the crash site. Last night U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
SHANKSVILLE, PA - MAY 2: Jeff Ray and his wife, Barbara, of Shanksville, Pa look over the crash site of Flight 93 following the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan May 2, 2011 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 10 years after September 11, 2001 construction is underway to erect a formal memorial at the crash site. Last night U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MAY 02: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) and Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd (L) approach the podiums for a post-meeting joint press availability May 2, 2011 at the State Department in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton said in a statement earlier that the death of Osama Bin Laden does not end the battle with al-Qaida. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 2: New York City Police officers and a K9 stand in a subway station May 2, 2011 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Security presence has been escalated as a precaution after U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: A member of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Emergency Service Unit stands guard at Grand Central Station a day after the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011 in New York City. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden during a late night address to the nation from the White House in Washington on May 1. The mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks was killed in an American military operation at a compound in Pakistan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Massachusetts family members, from left, sisters Danielle and Carie Lemack who lost their mother Judy Larocque; Christy Coombs who lost her husband Jeffrey; and Irene Ross who lost her brother Richard Ross, all on ill-fated Flight 11 from Logan Airport on 9/11 grieve in Boston Monday, May 2, 2011 during a moment of silence at the Garden of Remembrance, a memorial dedicated to the 206 Massachusetts victims of September 11, 2001. The event was held in the wake of news of the death of Osama bin Laden. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
In this handout image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama listens during one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 1: In this handout image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Green Room of the White House, following his statement detailing the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. CIA Director Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are pictured at left. U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 1: In this handout image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama talks with members of the national security team at the conclusion of one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 1: In this handout image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama edits his remarks in the Oval Office prior to making a televised statement detailing the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 1: In this handout image provided by The White House, Senior administration officials listen as President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the East Room of the White House on the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States had killed the most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in an operation led by U.S. Special Forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Police officers keep watch at a makeshift memorial on the fence surrounding the World Trade Center site after the death of accused 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was announced May 2, 2011 in New York City. Bin Laden was killed in an operation by U.S. Navy Seals in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
This undated artist rendering handout provided by the CIA shows the Abbottabad compound in Pakistan where American forces in Pakistan killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/CIA)
Joe Pisciotta of Falls Church, Va., left, and Eric Tcotco, of Washington, who have never met before, have their photo taken together by an American flag in front of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 2, 2011, the day after Osama bin Laden was killed. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
John Flowers, graduating WVU basketball forward, center, prepares to jump as hundreds of fellow students celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden in Morgantown W.V. early Monday, May 2, 2011. Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was killed in a firefight with elite American forces in Pakistan on Monday, May 2, 2011 then quickly buried at sea. (AP Photo/Daily Athenaeum, Matt Sunday)
This frame grab from video obtained exclusively by ABC News, on Monday, May 2, 2011, shows a section of a room in the interior of the compound where it is believed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was tracked down and shot to death in Pakistan, Monday, May 2, 2011, by an elite team of U.S. forces, ending an unrelenting manhunt that spanned a frustrating decade. (AP Photo/ABC News)
This frame grab from video obtained exclusively by ABC News, on Monday, May 2, 2011, shows a section of a room in the interior of the compound where it is believed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was tracked down and shot to death in Pakistan, Monday, May 2, 2011, by an elite team of U.S. forces, ending an unrelenting manhunt that spanned a frustrating decade. (AP Photo/ABC News)
This frame grab from video obtained exclusively by ABC News, on Monday, May 2, 2011, shows a section of the compound where it is believed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was tracked down and shot to death in Pakistan, Monday, May 2, 2011, by an elite team of U.S. forces, ending an unrelenting manhunt that spanned a frustrating decade. (AP Photo/ABC News)
Crowds celebrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, early Monday, May 2, 2011, after President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed.
Osama bin Laden is seen in this undated photo taken from a television image. (Photo by Getty Images)
Osama bin Laden is seen aiming a weapon in this undated photo from Al-Jazeera TV. (Photo by Al-Jazeera/Getty Images)
Osama bin Laden
Afghan men point at a television screen as the killing of Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is announced in Kabul
A man who said he was dressed as "Captain America," cheers early Monday, May 2, 20111, across the street from the White House in Washington, as people gather to cheer the United States after it was announced that Osama bin Laden has been killed. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Osama Bin Laden, the al Qaida leader, appears on this layout for an FBI poster after he was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list in June 1999, in connection with the bombings of the U.S.
A crowd outside the White House in Washington, cheers Sunday, May 1, 2011, upon hearing the news that terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is dead. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
A driver and passengers celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden in the streets of Lawrence, Kan., Sunday, May 1, 2011. President Barack Obama announced Sunday night, May 1, 2011, that Osama bin Laden was killed in an operation led by the United States.(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
A crowd in New York's Times Square reacts to the news of Osama Bin Laden's death early Monday morning May 2, 2011. President Barack Obama announced Sunday night, May 1, 2011, that Osama bin Laden was killed in an operation led by the United States. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
Dustin Fredrickson, of New York, center, holds up an American flag as he stands on a fire truck amongst those gathered in New York's Times Square reacting to the news of Osama Bin Laden's death early Monday morning May 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
A man who said he was dressed as "Captain America," cheers early Monday, May 2, 20111, across the street from the White House in Washington, as people gather to cheer the United States after it was announced that Osama bin Laden has been killed. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Crowds celebrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, early Monday, May 2, 2011, after President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Smoke, flames and debris erupt from one of the World Trade Center towers after a plane strikes it, in New York.
A U.S. Park Police officer is handed a flag as crowds celebrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, early Monday, May 2, 2011, after President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Crowds celebrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, early Monday, May 2, 2011, after President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
This April 1998 file photo is thought to show exiled al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan
Osama Bin Laden has been killed in a US operation (AP)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 02: A giant flag covers the Green Monster as the national anthem is played before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels on May 2, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Both teams lined up on the baseline to observe a moment of silence to honor those that have died from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 02: A giant flag covers the Green Monster as the national anthem is played before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels on May 2, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Both teams lined up on the baseline to observe a moment of silence to honor those that have died from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
1998 file photo, onlookers stand at the foot of the damaged buildings in Nairobi, Kenya, after a huge explosion ripped apart a building in the Kenyan capital, heavily destroying the U.S. Embassy. Osama bin Laden, leader of the al-Qaida organization behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the United States and blamed for the 1998 embassy bombing in Kenya and Tanzania, is dead, a person familiar with the situation said late Sunday. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim, File)
In this undated still from video released Sept. 10, 2003, Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, left, and his top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri appear. A person familiar with developments on Sunday, May 1, 2011 says bin Laden is dead and the U.S. has the body. (AP Photo/Al Jazeera via APTN)
In this Oct. 7, 2001, file photo, Osama bin Laden, left, with his top lieutenant Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, are seen at an undisclosed location in this television image broadcast. A person familiar with developments said Sunday, May 1, 2011 that bin Laden is dead and the U.S. has the body. (AP Photo/Al Jazeera, File)
Crowds celebrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, early Monday, May 2, 2011, after President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Osama bin Laden went down firing at the US special forces who stormed his compound, a US official revealed last night.

The White House said the elite Navy Seals team that killed bin Laden would have taken him alive had they been given the opportunity.

Counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan said one of bin Laden's wives was used as a human shield to try to protect him and she was killed too as a result.

He added that the White House thought bin Laden would resist but that there was a “remote” possibility he could be captured alive. The senior adviser to President Barack Obama — who monitored the raid from the White House Situation Room — said that it would have happened only if bin Laden did not pose any threat to the Americans sent to take him out.

Since he fought back, he was killed.

“It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time in the lives of the people who were assembled here,” Mr Brennan said from the White House. “The minutes passed like days.”

Mr Brennan also said it was inconceivable that bin Laden did not have some support in Pakistan, where he was hiding when he was killed by US forces.

No photographs of bin Laden were released yesterday but Pentagon officials said the at-sea burial of Osama bin Laden was videotaped and that it probably will be released soon. The decision to quickly dispose of the body from the deck on the USS Carl Vinson into the waters of the northern Arabian sea was taken to avoid a burial site on land becoming a shrine for his followers.

The US and its allies stepped up security last night, amid fears of a possible revenge attack from al-Qaida militants. Security for Mr Obama's visit to Ireland this month has also been stepped up.

Hours after the celebrations that broke out across the US after Mr Obama announced that bin Laden had been killed, officials warned of the possible repercussions that could follow.

“Though bin Laden is dead, al-Qaida is not,” said Leon Panetta, director of the CIA. “The terrorists almost certainly will attempt to avenge him, and we must — and will — remain vigilant and resolute.” Prime Minister David Cameron said the West would need to be “particularly vigilant” in the weeks ahead.

The warnings came after a remarkable day in which it was revealed that the man who had waged war on the West in such spectacular and deadly fashion when his network struck in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, had been killed.

Bin Laden was discovered in a compound in Abbottabad with few outward-facing windows and no internet or telephone access, and killed after an operation that lasted 48 minutes.

While many experts had suggested the al-Qaida leader may have been hiding in Pakistan, it was always assumed it would have been in the wild tribal areas close to the border with Afghanistan and not in the centre of a garrison town that is home to thousands of Pakistani troops.

His presence there is hugely embarrassing to Pakistan and while US officials were last night quoted as saying they did not believe the Pakistani authorities were aware of his location, Islamabad will struggle to convince its critics that it was innocent.

The operation on Sunday night, which was carried out by helicopter-borne US special forces, followed a months-long intelligence operation in which the CIA had monitored the three-storey residence around the clock. They had been alerted to it after monitoring the movements of a man, long suspected of being a courier for bin Laden.

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