Shots at chest, forehead killed Obama, US looks at seized material (Lead)

May 5th, 2011 - 3:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 5 (IANS) The US was reviewing the evidence gathered in Pakistan following the raid on the hideout of Osama bin Laden who was killed by rapid-fire shots to his chest and forehead.

A US commando team that fought its way upstairs at Osama’s high-walled mansion in Pakistan’s Abbottabad city May 2 killed the unarmed Al Qaeda leader with rapid-fire shots to his chest and forehead, US media reports said citing officials.

Osama, who the White House said put up some form of resistance, was moving when he was first shot, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN.

Weapons were near Osama, who died on an upper floor of the compound toward the end of the 38-minute raid, she said. “He was right there and going to get those arms. You really can’t take a chance.”

Osama was “moving” at the time he was initially shot, CNN said citing an official who declined to describe those movements.

Previously, another US official said Osama was shot when he made a threatening move. When asked if Osama tried to grab a weapon or physically attack a commando, the official would only say: “He didn’t hold up his hands and surrender.”

The first shot hit Osama in the chest and the second struck him in the forehead just above the left eye, the official said.

A photo shows a gunshot wound to the head above the left eye, with the skull partially blown away, CNN said citing two sources who have seen a photograph of bin Laden’s body.

The US Navy SEALs, who undertook the daring raid, managed to carry out a cache of material from the compound.

The haul includes 10 hard drives, five computers and more than 100 storage devices, such as disks, DVDs and thumb drives. The materials might provide clues on Al Qaeda members and potential plots for future attacks.

The commandos also recovered five cell phones, audio and video equipment, “lots” of paper documents and some five guns, including AK-47s and pistols, it said.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday: “The material that was seized from that residence is being reviewed by an inter-agency team: CIA, Justice, other intelligence agencies, other law enforcement agencies are contributing people and machines to go through that material.”

“As we glean information from that material, we will make appropriate decisions with regard to who might we add to the terrorist watch list, the No Fly list, all those things,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Holder also asserted that Osama’s killing was legally justified, and would have been even if the Al Qaeda leader had made some sign that he wished to surrender.

“The operation in which Osama bin Laden was killed was lawful,” he said. “He was the head of Al Qaeda, an organization that had conducted the attacks of Sep 11. He admitted his involvement and he indicated that he would not be taken alive.”

“The operation against bin Laden was justified as an act of national self defence,” he said.

Holder said Osama was a legitimate military target and he had made no attempt to surrender to the US forces that stormed his fortified compound.

It was lawful to target an enemy commander in the field and the mission was conducted in the way that was consistent with US laws and values, Holder testified, adding that it was a “kill or capture mission”.

“If he had attempted to surrender, I think we should obviously have accepted that, but there was no indication that he wanted to do that. And therefore his killing was appropriate,” Holder said.

Five people were killed in the raid, officials said: Osama; his son, Khalid; his most trusted courier, a man who went by the name of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti; and al-Kuwaiti’s wife and brother.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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