Time flies so fast; it has been all of 12 months since the news that the elusive terrorist leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in his hideout in Pakistan as a result of a raid conducted by the US Navy SEALs.
The New York Daily News looked back at that iconic event it described as a “daring raid that was nearly 10 years in the making.”
The decision to proceed with the raid was the result of 10 years worth of intelligence work, consisting of a collection of clues and hunches, as well as a number of dead ends. It was in September 2010 that the CIA started to focus on a three-storey compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as the hideout of Bin Laden. Military aides of President Barack Obama were divided over a bombing mission or one that would send commandoes in for a raid.
President Obama chose to order the mission on April 29, 2011, a Friday. On Saturday night, he attended the White House Correspondents Dinner, and on Sunday afternoon, he was at the Situation Room watching how the mission played out. An image of the president and his advisers at that moment has since become an iconic photograph. Among those who were present was Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who shared: “We were, in real time, aware of what was happening.”
The mission was carried out by two dozen Navy SEALs, some of whom were wearing helmet cameras. It went off to a rough start, with one of the helicopters crash landed into the compound. Despite the mishap, the SEALs were able to locate the brains behind the 9/11 attacks – and killed him. His body was photographed and DNA tested, and then buried at sea following Islamic rites, to ensure that there would be no shrine left for his followers to congregate in.