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New York Times: Firefight in bin Laden Compound was One-Sided New York Times: Firefight in bin Laden Compound was One-Sided

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National Security / National Security

New York Times: Firefight in bin Laden Compound was One-Sided

(AFP Photo)

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
May 5, 2011

New details from the raid that killed Osama bin Laden suggest that the U.S. forces took much less enemy fire than originally suggested by the administration.

The more than 20 Navy SEALs who participated in the operation at the al-Qaida leader's compound in Pakistan only took fire from one man—bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti—a senior administration official told The New York Times.

Since Sunday night, the administration has repeatedly insisted that bin Laden was killed in a “firefight” as the SEALs worked their way through his house in Abbottabad. Such language has raised questions about the operation, including whether bin Laden was armed (he was not), whether a woman was used as a human shield (the administration now says she was killed in crossfire), and whether the operation was conducted in a lawful manner (the White House insists it was).

 

National Journal learned Wednesday that bin Laden was in a room with weapons when he was killed, which could support the administration’s claim that he presented a threat to the SEALs and resisted capture.

Any changes in the narrative about the raid are being attributed by press secretary Jay Carney to the administration’s attempt to share as much information as possible. But Carney indicated at Wednesday’s press briefing that the flow of information will slow considerably, as any operational details that have not been disclosed need to be kept secret to protect U.S. forces.

The report from the Times came as Reuters released a set of graphic photographs from the compound displaying the dead bodies of three men, presumed to be al-Kuwaiti, al-Kuwaiti’s brother, and bin Laden’s son Khalid, who were all reportedly shot dead during the raid.

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