WASHINGTON, May 3, 2011 — Osama bin Laden was not armed, but did resist an American military team raiding his compound in Pakistan on May 1, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today.
Initial statements said bin Laden had been armed, and that he used his wife as a shield during the raid that killed him.
The team methodically cleared the one-acre, two-building compound, moving from room to room in an operation lasting nearly 40 minutes, Carney said. “They were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation, and Osama bin Laden was killed by the assaulting force,” he added.
On the first floor of bin Laden’s building, the team killed two al-Qaida couriers. A woman also was killed in crossfire. The team found bin Laden and his family on the second and third floors of the building.
“There was concern that bin Laden would oppose [the capture operation], and indeed, he did resist,” Carney said. “In the room with bin Laden, … 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.”
Government officials are not going to give out any more operational details of the raid. A senior Defense Department official said Americans need to understand that the raid was a clandestine operation, and while it has huge international consequences and some portions of the raid should be known, “we feel it is important to protect these operational details.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)