Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'iVIOLATED'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad considers fresh offer for T-Mobile

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to school!

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: Thousands pay tribute to Michael Brown

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Anti-govt protesters briefly seize Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

Americas

Bin Laden unarmed during raid, White House says

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-04

Osama bin Laden was unarmed when US special forces raided his Pakistan hideout and shot him, the White House revealed Tuesday, appearing to contradict earlier reports that the al Qaeda leader had taken part in a firefight.

AFP - Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot dead by US special forces, but he tried to resist and there was a "volatile firefight," the White House said Tuesday.
             
The revelation, likely to stoke anger in parts of the Muslim world, came from President Barack Obama's spokesman Jay Carney as he provided the most detailed account yet of the Sunday night raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
             
"In the room with bin Laden, a women -- 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," Carney said.
             
The elite Navy SEALs came in on two helicopters.
             
"The team methodically cleared the compound moving from room to room in an operation lasting nearly 40 minutes," Carney said.
             
After media reports quoting officials describing it as a "kill operation," the White House spokesman was pressed hard to explain the apparent contradiction that bin Laden was unarmed but also resisted.
             
"We were prepared to capture him if that was possible," Carney said, without providing a clear explanation. "We expected a great deal of resistance and were met with a great deal of resistance."
             
When a journalist insisted: "He wasn't armed," Carney replied: "But there were many other people who were armed in the compound. There was a firefight."
             
"But not in that room," the journalist pressed.
             
"It was a highly volatile firefight. I'll point you to the department of defense for more details about it," Carney said.
             
In addition to the bin Laden family, two other families resided in the compound: one on the first floor of the bin Laden building and another in a second building,
             
"Of the 22 or so people in the room, 17 or so of them were noncombatants," Carney said.
             
The SEALs split into two: one team entering the bin Laden house on the first floor and working its way up to the third floor where the Al-Qaeda chief was, while the other team cleared the second building.
             
"On the first floor of bin Laden’s building, two Al-Qaeda couriers were killed along with a woman who was killed in cross-fire," Carney said.
             
"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 and indeed he resisted."
             
After the firefight, the "non-combatants were moved to a safe location as the damaged helicopter was detonated," Carney said. "The team departed the scene via helicopter to the USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea."
             
The White House spokesman also described the sea burial of bin Laden, which has been criticized as going against Islamic tradition by certain Muslim leaders.
             
"Aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the burial of bin Laden was done in conformance with Islamic precepts and practices," he said. "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," he continued.
             
"After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, and the deceased body eased into the sea."

Date created : 2011-05-03

  • FRANCE

    Without bin Laden, French see Afghan war in new light

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Pakistan denies accusations of 'harbouring' bin Laden

    Read more

COMMENT(S)