Washington: Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot at by the US commandos in Pakistan but did offer resistance, the White House has said as it tried to correct the official information provided earlier. (Agencies)
Initial statements had said Laden was armed and he used his wife as a shield during the raid that killed him at his hideout in Pakistan.
Giving a recap of the events, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on orders of US President Barack Obama a small American team assaulted a secure compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad to capture or kill Laden.
"The raid was conducted with US 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 one family in a second building. One team began the operation on the first floor of Laden’s house and worked their way to the third floor. A second team cleared the separate building," Carney said.
"On the first floor of 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 Laden would oppose the capture operation rather, and, indeed, he did resist," he said.
"In the room with Laden, a woman rather, bin Laden’s wife, rushed the US assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed. Following the firefight, the noncombatants were moved to a safe location as the damaged helicopter was detonated. The team departed the scene via helicopter to the USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea," Carney said.
"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," Carney said.
The White House Press Secretary made it clear that the information is fresh and the administration will continue to gather and provide to the details as they get them and they are able to release them.
"The resistance was throughout. When the assaulter entered the room where Osama bin Laden was, he was rushed by one individual in the room, and the resistance was consistent from the moment they landed until the end of the operation," he said.
Responding to questions, Carney said the Special Forces were prepared to capture him if that was possible. "We expected a great deal of resistance as expected," he said.
Though Laden himself was not armed there were many other people who were armed in the in the compound.
A great number of people were unharmed and safely made secure after the operation was complete and the helicopter had to be detonated. But there was a firefight, he said.
Carney said the people in the situation room, including the President, were just the observers, and were not issuing any command.
"The operation was run from the ground, or certainly not from the White House. The folks in the Situation Room were observers and listeners to an operation that obviously had been carefully thought out, meticulously prepared for.”
“The decision to go was the President's and obviously was a very weighty decision. Once it began, however, obviously, it was up to those who were taking the action to execute the plan," he said.
Washington: Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot at by the US commandos in Pakistan but did offer resistance, the White House has said as it tried to correct the official information provided earlier.