This is the first time Osama Bin Laden’s wife has spoken about the US raid that killed her husband.
Amal Bin Laden, the fourth and youngest wife of the man who was the leader of terrorist faction – al Qaeda, recently recounted the story of the night her husband died at the hands of US special forces.
Speaking to Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clarke, for their book The Exile: The Flight of Osama bin Laden, Amal narrated the story of the night of May 11, 2011. Bin Laden, who was living in Abbottabad, along with Amal, six of their children, second wife Khairiah, third wife Seham and son Khalid, 22.
Around 11 PM, as Amal lay next to Bin Laden, she woke up to the sound of a helicopter. Due to an electricity shortage, the streets were dark but Amal said she saw shadows dancing in the windows.
The sounds must have been getting closer because they woke Bin Laden too and the first thing he panted was “Americans are coming”. Following a loud screeching sound, the entire house rocked. The pair got off the bed and crept towards the balcony. “It was a moonless night which made it difficult to see,” Amal said.
Out of their sight were two US military Black Hawks and 24 SEALs stealthily rushing over the lawn towards the compound. They were seen by Seham and Khalid from the second floor balcony.
Bin Laden called out to his son who grabbed his AK-47 and came rushing to his father. Meanwhile Amal and Seham tried to comfort the other children who woke up frightened and crying.
Within seconds, there was a blast as the Seals blew off the gate of the house and entered.
“They want me, not you” shouted out Bin Laden, telling his family to go downstairs. But the oldest daughters, Mirium and Sumaiya hid on the balcony.
Bin Laden, Amal and their young son Hussein remained in the room, praying. “I realised someone from our inner circle had betrayed us,” said Amal.
Meanwhile, the Seals blasted a locked door and entered the house before heading upwards. One of the force members spoke Arabic and knew what Khalid looked like. He called out to Khalid before shooting him.
Miriam and Sumaiya rushed towards the Seals but were thrown against the wall by the Arab speaking man.
Seal Robert O Neill walked past them and entered the room. Amal was right in front of her husband and rushed towards the Seals as they entered the room. She was shot and collapsed onto the bed. Bin Laden was shot and as more Seals entered the room, more rounds were fired into his body.
Pain shooting up and down her leg, Amal woke to see what was happening but knew she had to play dead if she wanted to survive, so she closed her eyes and tried to slow her breathing.
Meanwhile, Amal saw little Hussein being grabbed by one of the Seals and water being thrown in his face, while Mirium and Sumaiya were grabbed and held over their father’s body, demanded to identify the man.
“My father,” Miriam murmured. “Osama Bin Laden.”
Bin Laden’s wife Khairiah, who was in the hallway, was also grabbed by the Seal and asked to identify the body.
The Arabic speaking man then said, “Hey, dual confirmation, confirmed it with the kid and with the old lady”.
Bin Laden’s body was then dragged down the stairs by the special forces leaving his head to bump behind them. Khalid lay dead on the staircase and when his mother tried to kiss him, she was pulled away.
The Seals then transferred Bin Laden’s body into one helicopter and blew up the remaining Black Hawk.
Featured Image Source: The Washington Post
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