White House backtracks, admits Osama was ‘unarmed’ when killed by US troops

May 4th, 2011 - 10:56 am ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, May 4(ANI): The White House has admitted that its initial account of the United States’ ‘Operation Geronimo’ had been riddled with errors, and gave a fresh narrative on the helicopter borne raid that killed elusive Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, confirming that the most wanted terrorist was “not armed” at the time of the assault.

The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed Sunday night in a top secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Abbottabad city, located 50 kilometres northeast of Islamabad and 150 kilometres east of Peshawar.

“What is true is that we provided a great deal of information with great haste in order to inform you and, through you, the American public about the operation and how it transpired and the events that took place there in Pakistan. And obviously some of the information came in piece by piece and is being reviewed and updated and elaborated on,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters during a briefing.

He then provided a narrative on the raid on the bin Laden compound in Pakistan, saying that a small US team assaulted a secure compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad to capture or kill bin Laden on orders of President Barack Obama.

“The raid was conducted with U.S. military personnel assaulting on two helicopters. The team methodically cleared the compound, moving from room to room in an operation lasting nearly 40 minutes. They were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation, and Osama bin Laden was killed by the assaulting force,” he said.

In addition to the bin Laden family, two other families resided in the compound- one family on the first floor of the bin Laden building, and the other family in a second building, said Carney, adding that one team began the operation on the first floor of the bin Laden house and worked their way to the third floor, while a second team cleared the separate building.

“On the first floor of bin Laden’s building, two al Qaeda couriers were killed, along with a woman who was killed in crossfire. Bin Laden and his family were found on the second and third floor of the building. There was concern that bin Laden would oppose the capture operation — operation rather, and, indeed, he did resist,” said the press secretary.

“In the room with bin Laden, a woman — bin Laden’s — a woman, rather, bin Laden’s wife, rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed,” he added.

Following the firefight, the noncombatants were moved to a safe location as the damaged helicopter was detonated, and the team departed the scene via helicopter to the USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea, said Carney, adding that aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the burial of bin Laden was done in conformance with Islamic precepts and practices.

“The deceased’s body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag; a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, and the deceased body eased into the sea,” he added.

When asked how bin Laden resisted if he was not armed at the time of the US operation,Carney replied: “First of all, I think resistance does not require a firearm. But the information I gave you is what I can tell you about it. I’m sure more details will be provided as they come available and we are able to release them.” (ANI)

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