New York, Aug 1: The US Navy SEALs pumped two 5.56-mm bullets to kill an unarmed al-Qaeda chief in Pakistan's garrison city Abbottabad, a media report said today, providing new insight into the covert operation.
“There was never any question of detaining or capturing him - it wasn't a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,” a special-operations officer in the raid was quoted as saying by The New Yorker magazine.
Six US helicopters - two MH-60 Black Hawk and four MH-47 Chinooks - were involved in the May 2 special operation to kill bin Laden, the weekly reported in its latest edition.
“The first round, a 5.56-mm bullet, struck bin Laden in the chest. As he fell backward, the SEAL fired a second round into his head, just above his left eye,” the report said while detailing the blow-by-blow account of the special operation.
On his radio, The SEAL personnel who shot the al-Qaeda mastermind, reported, “For God and country-Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.” After a pause, he added, “Geronimo E.K.I.A.”-“enemy killed in action.”
The comprehensive report on the nearly 40 minute raid on 54-year-old Osama's hide out said that the climax began when a SEAL personnel stepped into Osama's bedroom and trained the infrared laser of his M4 on his chest.
Bin Laden, who was wearing a tan shalwar kameez and a prayer cap on his head, froze; he was unarmed, the report said, while adding Osama's two wives tried to protect him by placing themselves as human shields.
The report said that Amal al-Fatah, bin Laden's fifth wife, was screaming in Arabic.
“She motioned as if she was going to charge; the SEAL lowered his sights and shot her once, in the calf. Fearing that one or both women were wearing suicide jackets, he stepped forward, wrapped them in a bear hug, and drove them aside.
“He would almost certainly have been killed had they blown themselves up, but by blanketing them he would have absorbed some of the blast and potentially saved the two SEALs behind him. In the end, neither woman was wearing an explosive vest,” the report said.
Before the mission commenced, the SEALs had created a checklist of code words that had a Native American theme. Each code word represented a different stage of the mission: leaving Jalalabad, entering Pakistan, approaching the compound, and so on. “Geronimo” was to signify that bin Laden had been found, it said.
The Black Hawks, each of which had two pilots and a crewman from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, or the Night Stalkers, had been modified to mask heat, noise, and movement; the copters' exteriors had sharp, flat angles and were covered with radar-dampening “skin.” Once the raid was over, four SEALs scoured the second floor, plastic bags in hand, collecting flash drives, CDs, DVDs, and computer hardware from the room, which had served, in part, as bin Laden's makeshift media studio. The SEALs also found an archive of digital pornography.
“We find it on all these guys, whether they're in Somalia, Iraq, or Afghanistan,” the special-operations officer said. Bin Laden's gold-threaded robes, worn during his video addresses, hung behind a curtain in the media room, the report said. PTI