May 2, 2011 1:44 AM by Chris Welty
ISLAMABAD (AP) - Osama bin Laden was holed up in a two-story
house 100 yards from a Pakistani military academy when four
helicopters carrying U.S. anti-terror forces swooped in the early
morning hours of Monday and killed him.
Flames rose Monday from the building that was the apparent
target of the raid as it was confirmed that the world's most wanted
fugitive died not in a cave, but in a town best known as a garrison
for the Pakistani military. A U.S. official said one of bin Laden's
sons was also killed in the raid alone with three others, but the
official did not name the son or the others killed.
Pakistani officials and a witness said bin Laden's guards opened
fire from the roof of the building, and one of the choppers
crashed. The sound of at least two explosions rocked the small
northwestern town of Abbottabad where the al-Qaida chief made his
last stand. The U.S. said no Americans were harmed in the raid.
Abbottabad is home to at least one regiment of the Pakistani
army, is dotted with military buildings and home to thousands of
army personnel. Surrounded by hills and with mountains in the
distance, it is less than half a days drive from the border region
with Afghanistan, where most intelligence assessments believed bin
Laden was holed up.
The news he was killed in an army town in Pakistan will raise
more pointed questions of how he managed to evade capture and
whether Pakistan's military and intelligence leadership knew of his
whereabouts and sheltered him. Critics have long accused elements
of Pakistan's security establishment of protecting bin Laden,
though Islamabad has always denied this.
Abbotabad resident Mohammad Haroon Rasheed said the raid
happened about 1:15 a.m. local time.
"I heard a thundering sound, followed by heavy firing. Then
firing suddenly stopped. Then more thundering, then a big blast,"
he said. "In the morning when we went out to see what happened,
some helicopter wreckage was lying in an open field."
He said the house was 100 meters (yards) away from the gate of
A Pakistani official in the town said fighters on the roof
opened fire on the choppers as they came close to the building with
rocket propelled grenades. Another official said four helicopters
took off from the Ghazi air base in northwest Pakistan.
Last summer, the U.S. army was based in Ghazi to help out in the
aftermath of the floods.
Women and children were taken into custody during the raid, he
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the information.