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Osama bin Laden was unarmed when killed, White House says

May 03, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster )

Osama bin Laden was not armed when U.S. forces shot and killed him, the White House announced Tuesday.

Press Secretary Jay Carney delivered a fuller public readout of the 40-minute raid on the Al Qaeda leader’s compound, during which he also clarified that Bin Laden’s wife was shot, but not killed, as was stated Monday.

Photos: Osama bin Laden dead

"There was concern that Bin Laden would oppose the capture  operation and indeed he did resist," Carney, reading from notes, said. "In the room with Bin Laden, a woman, Bin Laden's wife, rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg, but not killed."

He later said that "resistance" does not "require a firearm."

The "narrative," as Carney described it, was provided by the Pentagon, he said.

Carney also was asked to describe the circumstances around the iconic photo released Monday evening which showed the president and his top national security aides riveted as they received updates on the operation against Bin Laden.

The spokesman said only that the team was watching live updates of the operation as it occurred, "during the tense moments" before the outcome was known.

Below is the full description read by Carney from the press briefing room:

"On orders of the president, a small U.S. team assaulted a secure compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. The raid was conducted with U.S. 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.

"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 the Bin Laden house and worked their way to the third floor.  A second team cleared the separate building.

"On the first floor of Bin 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 Bin Laden would oppose the capture  operation and indeed he did resist. In the room with Bin Laden, a woman, Bin Laden's wife, rushed the U.S. 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.

"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."

Photos: Osama bin Laden dead

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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