How Osama bin Laden Was Located and Killed

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The Assault on Bin Laden’s Compound

The raid of Bin Laden’s compound lasted about 40 minutes. He and his family had been living on the second and third floors of the main building, which was the last area to be cleared by American forces. Bin Laden resisted and was shot in the head in the final minutes of the gun battle. Three other men and a woman were also killed.
Compound

Finding the Town Where He Was Hiding

While Bin Laden had long been rumored to be hiding in remote tribal areas along the Pakistani-Afghan border, he had been living near the Pakistani Army’s military academy in Abbottabad, a medium-sized city.
Region

Intelligence Leading to Bin Laden’s Killing
Four years ago — American intelligence for the first time uncovers the name of Osama bin Laden's trusted courier but cannot locate him.
Two years ago — American intelligence identifies areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother have operated but cannot pinpoint exactly where they live.
August 1, 2010 — American intelligence locates the brothers' residence, a compound in Abbottabad. The compound is so large, secluded and secured that analysts conclude it must shelter a high value target.
September 1, 2010 — The C.I.A. begins to work with President Obama on assessments that lead them to believe that Bin Laden may be located at the compound.
Mid-February 2011 — United States government authorities determine that there was a sound intelligence basis to pursue this aggressively and develop courses of action.
March 14-28, 2011 — Mr. Obama holds a series of National Security Council meetings to develop options for capturing or killing Bin Laden.
April 29, 2011 — Mr. Obama authorizes the operation before flying to Alabama to inspect tornado damage.
May 1, 2011, 4-4:30 p.m. ET — United States forces raid Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad around 1 a.m. Pakistan time. Bin Laden and three other men are killed in a firefight. A woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant.
May 1, 2011, 11:35 p.m. ET — Mr. Obama announces Bin Laden's death to the world.



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