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Rediff.com  » News » Navy SEAL: 'Shot Osama twice in the forehead. Bap! Bap!'

Navy SEAL: 'Shot Osama twice in the forehead. Bap! Bap!'

Last updated on: February 12, 2013 15:46 IST

Navy SEAL: 'Shot Osama twice in the forehead. Bap! Bap!'

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A Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden at his Pakistani safe house has finally broken his silence to recount the moments when he shot dead the world's most wanted terrorist.

 

The SEAL, who decided to remain anonymous, in an interview to the Esquire magazine, said 54-year-old Osama looked taller than he had thought when he encountered the Al Qaeda chief on the third-floor mansion-like hideout in the garrison city of Abbottabad in May, 2011.

 

The entire process from identification to killing the Al Qaeda chief was over in just 15 seconds, he said.

"There was bin Laden standing there. He had his hands on a woman's shoulders, pushing her ahead, not exactly toward me but in the direction of the hallway commotion. It was his youngest wife, Amal," the Navy SEAL said.

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Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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'For me, it was a snapshot of a target ID, definitely him'

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The SEALs had night scopes, but it was coal-black for bin Laden and the other residents. He could hear but he could not see, the SEAL said.

"He (Osama) looked confused. And way taller than I was expecting. He had a cap on and didn't appear to be hit. I can't tell you 100 per cent, but he was standing and moving. He was holding her in front of him. Maybe as a shield, I don't know," the Navy SEAL told the magazine.

"For me, it was a snapshot of a target ID, definitely him. Even in our kill houses where we train, there are targets with his face on them. This was repetition and muscle memory. That's him, boom, done," the SEAL said recounting the events of that night.

"He had, like, an almost shaved head. Like a crew cut. I remember all that registering," he said.

"I'm just looking at him from right here (he moves his hand out from his face about ten inches). He's got a gun on a shelf right there, the short AK he's famous for. And he's moving forward," the SEAL said.

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Image: A video frame grab, obtained from ABC News, shows the interior in the mansion where Osama Bin Laden was killed.
Photographs: ABC News/Reuters

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'He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again'

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"I don't know if she's got a vest and she's being pushed to martyr them both. He's got a gun within reach. He's a threat. I need to get a head shot so he won't have a chance to clack himself off (blow himself up)," the SEAL said, adding that he thought that Osama was reaching for his AK-47.

"In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he's going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! same place," he said of the three shots he took at the Al Qaeda chief.

"That time I used my EOTech red-dot holo sight. He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath," the SEAL said.

"I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I've ever done, or the worst thing I've ever done? This is real and that's him," he said of his thoughts after killing Osama.

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Image: A video frame grab, obtained from ABC News, shows the interior in the mansion where Osama Bin Laden was killed
Photographs: ABC News/Reuters
Tags: SEAL , Osama , Al Qaeda , AK-47 , Bap

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'I thought we'd have to steal cars and drive to Islamabad'

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"His forehead was gruesome. It was split open in the shape of a V. I could see his brains spilling out over his face. The American public doesn't want to know what that looks like. Amal turned back, and she was screaming, first at bin Laden and then at me," he said.

When the US helicopter crashed inside the compound on arrival, the Navy SEAL said he thought that they would never be able to get out of the country.

"I thought we'd have to steal cars and drive to Islamabad. Because the other option was to stick around and wait for the Pakistani military to show up. Hopefully, we don't shoot it out with them. We're going to end up in prison here, with someone negotiating for us, and that's just bad. That's when I got concerned," he said.

"I've thought about death before, when I've been pinned down for an hour getting shot at. And I wondered what it was going to feel like taking one of those in the face. How long was it going to hurt? But I didn't think about that here," The SEAL said.

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Image: Part of a damaged helicopter lying near the compound after US Navy SEAL commandos killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad
Photographs: Reuters

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