Monday, May 30, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Another Day, Another Version
The other aircraft did not even attempt hovering, landing its SEALs outside the compound.
Now, the raiders were outside, and they’d lost the element of surprise.
They had trained for this, and started blowing their way in with explosives, through walls and doors, working their way up the three-level house from the bottom.
They had to blow their way through barriers at each stair landing, firing back, as one of the men in the house fired at them.
They shot three men as well as one woman, whom U.S. officials have said lunged at the SEALs.
Small knots of children were on every level, including the balcony of bin Laden’s room.
As three of the SEALs reached the top of the steps on the third floor, they saw bin Laden standing at the end of the hall. The Americans recognized him instantly, the officials said.
Bin Laden also saw them, dimly outlined in the dark house, and ducked into his room.
The three SEALs assumed he was going for a weapon, and one by one they rushed after him through the door, one official described.
Two women were in front of bin Laden, yelling and trying to protect him, two officials said. The first SEAL grabbed the two women and shoved them away, fearing they might be wearing suicide bomb vests, they said.
The SEAL behind him opened fire at bin Laden, putting one bullet in his chest, and one in his head.
It was over in a matter of seconds.
Back at the White House Situation Room, word was relayed that bin Laden had been found, signaled by the code word “Geronimo.” That was not bin Laden’s code name, but rather a representation of the letter “G.” Each step of the mission was labeled alphabetically, and “Geronimo” meant that the raiders had reached step “G,” the killing or capture of bin Laden, two officials said.
As the SEALs began photographing the body for identification, the raiders found an AK-47 rifle and a Russian-made Makarov pistol on a shelf by the door they’d just run through. Bin Laden hadn’t touched them.
They were among a handful of weapons that were removed to be inventoried.
It took approximately 15 minutes to reach bin Laden, one official said. The next 23 or so were spent blowing up the broken chopper, after rounding up nine women and 18 children to get them out of range of the blast.
(bold is mine)