The death of Bin Laden, ‘the world’s most wanted man’ ten years on

In the early hours of May 2, 2011, Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces during a raid at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Bin Laden, the Saudi-born architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 had been hunted by the US and its allies for a decade. The then US President George W. Bush had declared in 2001 that he was “Wanted: Dead or Alive”.

Ten years later US intelligence received a tip-off that Bid Laden was at a walled compound in the Pakistan city of Abbottabad, close to a major military training academy.

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President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, along with with members of the national security team, receive an update on the special forces raid on Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011 during a Navy SEAL operation,

After consulting key military and political advisers, US President Barack Obama authorised a strike, but without informing the Pakistan government.

Flying from bases in Afghanistan, a US Navy SEAL team was tasked with capturing or killing Bin Laden.

Disaster for the Americans almost struck in the early part of the operation when a Blackhawk helicopter hit technical trouble and was forced into an emergency landing.

When the SEAL team safety disembarked, they soon found themselves in a fierce gun battle with the occupants of the compound.

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In May 2011, US intelligence achieved a breakthrough in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. CIA agents discover he is living in a compound at Abbottabad, 60 km north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Navy SEALs during a training exercise. SEAL Team Six killed Al-Quaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

In the ensuing firefight, Bin Laden and three other men died. A woman was also killed.

After the fighting, the SEAL team quickly gathered papers and other materials in the two buildings and clambered back on helicopters, taking Bin Laden’s corpse with them.

Before leaving, the troops blew up the damaged Blackhawk.

Bin Laden’s body was flown to a US warship in the northern part of the Arabian Sea and buried at sea. The hour-long ceremony aboard the USS Carl Vinson was conducted according to Islamic law.

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The death of Osama bin Laden made headlines across the world, with hopes it would prove a hammer blow against Al Qaeda.

The raid was quick, risky and deadly — but ultimately a massive success, the product of months of intelligence gathering and careful.


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After President Obama announced the raid’s success in finding and killing Bin Laden, massive celebrations broke out across the US.

The hunt for Bid Laden

August 2010 – US intelligence sources identify the Abbottabad compound as the home of an Al Qaeda courier and his brother, who have no obvious means of affording a $1 million home.

September 2010 – The CIA informs then US President Barack Obama that Bin Laden may be living in the Abbottabad compound. They base this on the size and price tag of the compound as well as the elaborate security.

February 2011 – The intelligence on the Abbottabad compound is considered strong enough to begin planning action.

April 29, 2011 – Mr Obama gives the order to raid Bin Laden’s compound.

May 2, 2011 – In the early morning hours a group of 25 US Navy Seals raid the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

May 4, 2011 – White House Press Secretary Carney announces that President Obama has decided not to release photos of Bin Laden’s body.

May 6, 2011 – Al Qaeda confirms bin Laden’s death, in a statement on jihadist forums.

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Spontaneous celebrations broke out across the US after the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed.

– With CNN

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