There Was No Firefight

Only one person was armed in Osama bin Laden compound
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted May 5, 2011 1:38 AM CDT
Updated May 5, 2011 7:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – There was fire, but no real firefight. That's the latest revision in the White House's version of events during the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. The fire came from some 20 Navy Seals who shot dead bin Laden and three other men and a woman, only one of whom was armed, officials say now. Bin Laden's courier, Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, fired on the Seals as they launched the raid. After he and his wife were shot dead, the Americans weren't fired on again, reports AP. The others were killed because US forces believed they all posed a "serious threat," said a federal source. Initially, White House officials said the special forces came under heavy, prolonged small-arms fire as they moved into bin Laden's hideout.

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Instead of chaos amidst a hail of gunfire, the team moved methodically from room to room in what the New York Times characterizes as a "one-sided" 40-minute operation, confronting bin Laden aides and gathering some 22 children and women, some of whom were placed in plastic handcuffs. The US forces ended up in bin Laden's bedroom, shooting his wife in the leg and the apparently pajama-clad al-Qaeda leader in the head and chest, reports MSNBC. Bin Laden was shot as he appeared to be reaching for a nearby weapon, said a spokesman. CIA Chief Leon Panetta had reported that the men were "engaged in a firefight throughout the operation." White House officials said all details of the raid were not initially clear. "They were in a threatening and hostile environment the entire time," one official told the Times. (Read more Navy SEALs stories.)

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