May 2nd, 2011
06:15 PM ET

How U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden

(CNN) - In the dark of night, U.S. helicopters approached a high-walled compound in Pakistan on a mission to capture or kill one of the world's most notorious terrorist leaders.

Less than 40 minutes later - early Monday morning in Pakistan - Osama bin Laden was dead, along with four others inside the complex, and the U.S. forces departed with the slain al Qaeda leader's body to fulfill a vow that originated shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

And as he announced the raid at the White House Sunday night, U.S. President Barack Obama called bin Laden's death "the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaeda."

Obama, top officials watch raid unfold in real time

One senior administration official called the investigation a "team effort" and a "model of really seamless cooperation" across agencies.

This official and others briefed reporters on further details about the assault on the compound, which they believe was built five years ago for the specific purpose of hiding bin Laden - known by the code name "Geronimo," a U.S. official said.

The compound is in Abbottabad, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. The city sits in a mountainous region that is not heavily populated. Many of the residents are army personnel.

While senior administration officials would not offer a breakdown of the U.S. mission's composition, a senior defense official said U.S. Navy SEALs were involved.

After years of intelligence work and months of following a specific lead, they traced a courier linked to bin Laden to the compound in Abbottabad, the officials said.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Patricia

    I am so pleased to learn of Bin Laden death and proud that President Obama kept a poker face as the events unfolded. Its the kind of leadership we need in these times because there will probably be other attaches on us as a result of this. However, we will be ready for them. I also think we should cease giving any money to Pakistan because they had to have known who was living in that million dollar house.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  2. Name*Dawn. N.J.

    Doesn't he have a very similar looking brother? (I may be wrong) I haven't heard any mention of him. Where is he? People need proof that it was acutually osama, I'm still not sure I believe it!

    May 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  3. T Becker

    I love the fact that the U.S. nailed OBL but do they really expect me to believe that no U.S. casulties occured? One helicopter went down and a 40 minute fire fight ensuded. Please let me honor those heroes that died and not hide the truth. President Obama promised transpareny and this is a major issue with an election year coming.

    May 2, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  4. jess

    i wouldnt say im very happy about bin laden is killd but i am relieved...however i am afriad of wat the iraqies will do now...

    May 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  5. Jankoslav

    Another BS from USA, what else to expect!

    May 2, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  6. M. Kamakani

    Unless I missed it, no one has said what caused the fire at the complex where Bin Laden was killed. Was it the destruction of the helicopter, or what? Just wondering!!
    Marge K.

    May 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm |