Bin Laden Used Wife as Human Shield

Counterterror chief says al-Qaeda ringleader died behind only female casualty in raid
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2011 3:47 PM CDT
This frame grab from video obtained exclusively by ABC News, on Monday, May 2, 2011, shows a room in the compound where it is believed Osama bin Laden lived in Abbottabad.   (AP Photo/ABC News)
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(Newser) – Staring down the near-certainty of his imminent death yesterday, Osama bin Laden did not fight valiantly to the end nor peacefully step toward martyrdom: he died behind a woman—likely his own wife—as he used her as a human shield. "Here is Osama, living in a million-dollar compound, hiding behind" a woman "put in front of him as a shield," President Obama's chief counterterror adviser John Brennan tells Talking Points Memo. The woman was the only female casualty in the raid, Brennan says.

"She served as a shield—this is my understanding—when she fought back—when there was an opportunity to get to bin Laden—she was positioned in a way that she was used as a shield. My understanding was she was one of bin Laden's wives," said Brennan. Meanwhile, President Obama's decision to go after Osama, Brennan says, was one of the "gutsiest calls of any president in recent history." Click through for Brennan's description of a tense White House waiting for the raid to play out and other details. (Update: The White House has backtracked from the human shield account.)

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