Wednesday, May 4, 2011

US reveals Osama was unarmed

An undated recent file picture shows Osama bin Laden attending a meeting with a Kalashnikov on his lap. Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was killed by US commandos, US officials said. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - OSAMA bin Laden was unarmed when killed by US commandos in Pakistan, while Islamabad had to be kept in the dark about the raid in case the Al-Qaeda leader was tipped off, US officials said on Tuesday.

In some of the frankest comments from President Barack Obama's administration since Osama was shot dead on Sunday night, CIA director Leon Panetta laid bare the chasm of mistrust between the 'war-on-terror' allies.

'It was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardise the mission,' he told Time magazine in an interview. 'They might alert the targets,' he added in a blunt and damning remark.

US officials debated whether to release a 'gruesome' photograph to prove Osama was dead, while wrestling with the apparent contradiction that the terror mastermind 'resisted', but was also unarmed.

'In the room with bin Laden, a women - bin Laden's wife - rushed the US assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed,' White House spokesman Jay Carney said. 'Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed.'

Pressed on reports the elite Navy Seal team had actually been on a 'kill mission,' meaning it was under orders not to take Osama alive, Mr Carney said there had been a 'volatile firefight' and insisted: 'We were prepared to capture him if that was possible.' -- AFP

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