Bin Laden not armed during U.S. raid
White House offers more on SEAL raid in Pakistan as a few details are disputed
WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden was not armed when a U.S. Navy SEAL raiding party confronted him during an assault on his compound in Pakistan, the White House said Tuesday.White House press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that bin Laden did not have a weapon even though administration officials have said that bin Laden resisted during the 40-minute raid. Bin Laden was shot in the head and in the chest during the encounter.
Carney said bin Laden's wife "rushed the U.S. assaulter" and was shot in the leg but not killed, contrary to what a White House official said on Monday, when reports said bin Laden used her as a shield.
Carney declined to offer further details on bin Laden's behavior during the raid. Resistance did not require a firearm, he said.
He said the decision to kill rather than capture bin Laden was made by forces on the ground, not by the White House, which earlier authorized the rehearsed raid.
U.S. forces faced a firefight throughout the raid.
"We expected a great deal of resistance and were met with a great deal of resistance. There were many other people who were armed in the compound," Carney said.
There had been conflicting information about the circumstances under which the al-Qaida leader was killed. Some reports said that bin Laden was armed and that the woman was used as a human shield.
Describing the raid, Carney said two other families lived in the bin Laden compound in the outskirts of Abbottabad, some 60 miles from the capital of Islamabad. One family lived on the first floor of the bin Laden building and one family in a second building. One team began the operation on the first floor of the bin Laden house and worked their way to the third floor; a second team cleared the separate building.
Slate: Dramatic bin Laden death details may be bogus Carney said Navy SEALs encountered two al-Qaida couriers on the first floor of the compound building holding bin Laden and his family. A woman caught in crossfire there died, he said.
Bin Laden and his family were on the building's third floor.
"There was concern that bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed he resisted," Carney said, reading from a White House narrative obtained by NBC News.
After the firefight, Carney said, noncombatants were moved "to a safe location" as a damaged U.S. helicopter, one of two that landed at the compound, was destroyed.
Earlier reports also noted that as Navy Seals swept through bin Laden's massive compound, they handcuffed those they encountered with plastic zip ties as they continued to pursue their target, code-named Geronimo.
In addition to bin Laden, one of his sons, Khalid, was killed in the raid, Brennan said. Bin Laden's wife was shot in the calf but survived, a U.S. official said Monday. Also killed were bin Laden's trusted personal courier Sheikh Abu Ahmed and his brother, both earlier identified as two of bin Laden's al-Qaida facilitators, and an unidentified woman.
Twenty-three children and nine women were in the compound at the time of the assault and were turned over to Pakistani authorities, said a U.S. official who requested anonymity to discuss an intelligence matter. The SEAL team believes Bin Laden had lived at the compound for six years, the official said.
The BBC reported that the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, released raid details that differed from White House version.
- There were 17-18 people in the compound at the time of the attack.
- Americans took away one person still alive, possibly a Bin Laden son.
- Those who survived the attack included a wife, a daughter and eight to nine other children, not apparently Bin Laden's; all had their hands tied by the Americans.
- A surviving Yemeni wife said they had moved to the compound a few months ago.
- Bin Laden's daughter, aged 12 or 13, saw her father shot.
- Aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the burial of bin Laden was done in conformance with Islamic precepts and practices.
- The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet.
- The body was placed in a weighted bag; a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker.
- After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, and the deceased body eased into the sea.
Carney also said the photograph of bin Laden dead is "gruesome" and "it could be inflammatory" if released.The White House is mulling whether to make the photo public, but he said officials are concerned about the "sensitivity" of doing so. Carney said there is a discussion internally about the most appropriate way to handle the photo, but "there is not some roiling debate here about this."
Asked if President Barack Obama is involved in the photo discussion, Carney said the president is involved in every aspect of this issue.
May 3, 2011
JAY-TALKING: Here’s what you need to know from Tuesday’s White House briefing with press secretary Jay Carney:
-- The White House hasn’t released the photo of Osama bin Laden’s corpse because it is “gruesome” and could inflame enemies’ passions, Carney said. “We are making an evaluation of a need to do that because of the sensitivities involved,” he said.
-- Carney wouldn’t even say whether President Obama has seen the photo. “I don’t want to get into who’s seen the photos or where they are,” he said.
-- Underscoring the complicated nature of the American team’s attack on bin Laden, Carney was caught in a crossfire of his own when he was asked about the number of floors in the compound in Pakistan. “Even I’m getting confused,” Carney said as he looked through his notes.
-- Carney wouldn’t say whether bin Laden’s sea burial was videotaped, but he urged reporters “to be patient.”.
Obama aide: Bin Laden not armed when killedBy David Jackson,
May 3, 2011
Osama bin Laden was not armed when a U.S. Navy Seal shot and killed him during Sunday's raid, contrary to previous White House accounts.
"He was not armed," spokesman Jay Carney said today while reading a revised White House narrative that corrects other errors from previous readouts of the operation that took the life of the world's most wanted terrorist.
The new account changes the initial claim, later withdrawn, that bin Laden had used a woman believed to be his wife as a "human shield" when confronted by U.S. forces.
The updated version says "a woman -- bin Laden's wife -- rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed."
"Bin Laden was then shot and killed," the narrative adds at that point. "He was not armed."
At a White House briefing yesterday, counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan said that bin Laden "engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in. And whether or not he got off any rounds, I quite frankly don't know."
Brennan also said bin Laden was "hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield."
Today, Carney said bin Laden "resisted" during the raid, adding that such resistance does not require a firearm.
The new narrative provided by the White House also provides details of bin Laden's burial at sea, done in accordance with Muslim traditions.
On orders of the President, a small U.S. team assaulted a secure compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.
The raid was conducted with U.S. military personnel assaulting on two helicopters. The team methodically cleared the compound moving from room to room in an operation lasting nearly 40 minutes. They were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation and Osama Bin Laden was killed by the assaulting force.
In addition to the bin Laden family, two other families resided in the compound: one family on the first floor of the bin Laden building and one family in a second building. One team began the operation on the first floor of the bin Laden house and worked their way to the third floor; a second team cleared the separate building.
On the first floor of bin Laden's building, two Al Qaeda couriers were killed along with a woman who was killed in cross-fire. Bin Laden and his family were found on the second and third floor of the building. There was concern that bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed he resisted.
In the room with bin Laden, a woman -- bin Laden's wife -- rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed.
Following the firefight, the non-combatants were moved to a safe location as the damaged helicopter was detonated.
The team departed the scene via helicopter to the USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea.
Aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the burial of bin Laden was done in conformance with Islamic precepts and practices. The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag; a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, and the deceased body eased into the sea..
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