'Osama was already dead when Navy SEAls arrived'

Aug 30, 2012, 07:32 IST | Agencies

Osama was already shot in the head, according to No Easy Day, a book by a Navy SEAL, contradicting previous official accounts of the raid on the former al-Qaeda leader

Slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by a bullet to the brain before Navy SEALs had even entered his bedroom in a Pakistan compound, a new book reveals.

New details have emerged of the daring 2011 raid which ended the terrorist leader’s life in an eagerly-anticipated first-hand account written by one of the men involved in the covert mission.

Firsthand account: According to the book, when the SEALS entered the room where Osama was hiding, he was dead on the floor and a woman was crying over his body. File Pics

Writing under the pseudoymn Mark Owen, the SEAL in his book No Easy Day says they were stealthily climbing a narrow staircase in the Abbottabad compound when the team’s point man saw a man’s head emerge from a doorway.

“We were less than five steps from getting to the top (of the stairs) when I heard suppressed shots. BOP. BOP,” Owen writes.

“I couldn’t tell from my position if the rounds hit the target or not. The man disappeared into the dark room.” When the SEALs entered the room, they found Bin Laden dead on the floor and a woman crying over his body.

He was wearing a white sleeveless T-shirt, loose tan pants and a tan tunic — and was unarmed. “Blood and brains spilled out of the side of his skull,” Owen writes, saying the most wanted man in America was twitching and convulsing.

Owen and another SEAL then pointed their lasers at Bin Laden’s chest. “(We) fired several rounds,” he says in the book. “The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless.”

Previous reports suggested Bin Laden was armed and had attempted to fight back in his final moments, but Owen describes the 9/11 mastermind as a coward.

No defence
“He hadn’t even prepared a defense,” he writes. “He had no intention of fighting. He asked his followers for decades to wear suicide vests or fly planes into buildings, but didn’t even pick up his weapon.

In all of my deployments, we routinely saw this phenomenon. The higher up the food chain the targeted individual was, the bigger a pussy he was.”

Navy SEALs closely
examined Bin Laden’s lifeless face to ensure he was the man they were hunting, and also asked several women in the compound to identify him.

What they found
Inside Osama’s room the team found an AK-47 and a Makarov pistol, with empty chambers and the author disputes previous reports which painted the raid as a James Bond blockbuster with a 40-minute firefight and bullets flying through the air.

“The raid was being reported like a bad action movie,” Owen writes. “At first, it was funny because it was so wrong.” He also says Osama had no ‘time to look into our eyes,’ and they were not on a shoot to kill mission.

The 36-year-old SEAL said he was pleased US President Obama gave the order to proceed but the team knew he would take credit for Bin Laden’s death if the mission was successful.

“Although we applauded the decision-making in this case, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that he would take all the political credit for this too,” Owen writes. 

From print to screen
The autobiography may also be heading to the big screen, as it was revealed that director Steven Spielberg met the SEAL to discuss making a movie about his experience.

Official account
It took approximately 15 minutes to find and kill Osama in his Abottabad compound. The commandos shot three men and a woman. Three of the Navy SEALs saw Osama standing at the end of a hallway as they reached the top of the steps. One of the soldiers grabbed the women and shoved them away while one of the SEALs behind him fired at bin Laden. The al-Qaeda boss was shot once in the chest and once in the head. The SEALs then photograph the body for identification. 

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