Osama bin Laden, the former head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 am local time by Navy SEALs of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as DEVGRU or SEAL Team Six). The operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, was carried out in a Central Intelligence Agency-led operation. In addition to DEVGRU, participating units included the U.S. Army Special Operations Command's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and CIA operatives.The raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was launched from Afghanistan. After the raid, U.S. forces took bin Laden's body to Afghanistan for identification, then buried it at sea within 24 hours of his death. Al-Qaeda confirmed the death on May 6 with posts made on militant websites, vowing to avenge the killing. Other Pakistani militant groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, also vowed retaliation against the U.S. and against Pakistan for not preventing the operation. Bin Laden's killing was generally favorably received by U.S. public opinion; was welcomed by the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, and a large number of governments; but was condemned by some, including Fidel Castro of Cuba and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of theHamas administration of the Gaza Strip. Legal and ethical aspects of the killing, such as his not being taken alive despite being unarmed, were questioned by others, including Amnesty International. Also controversial was the decision to not release any photographic or DNA evidence of bin Laden's death to the public.
On June 2, 2009, just over four months into his presidency, President Obama sent a memo to CIA Director Leon Panetta directing him to provide, within 30 days, a detailed operational plan for locating bin Laden and bringing him to justice. Locating bin Laden
See also: Location of Osama bin Laden
The U.S. intelligence community effort to determine the current location of Osama bin Laden, which eventually resulted in the Abbottabad operation, began with a fragment of information unearthed in 2002, resulting in years of consequent investigation, followed by intensive multiplatform surveillance on the compound beginning in September 2010.
Bin Laden's compound
Main article: Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound
View of the compound
Built in 2004, the three-story compound was located at the end of a narrow dirt road. Google Earth maps made from satellite photographs show that the compound was not present in 2001 but did exist on images taken in 2005. It is located 2.5 miles (4.0 km) northeast of the city center of Abbottabad. Abbottabad is about 100 miles (160 km) from the Afghanistan border on the far eastern side of Pakistan (about 20 miles (32 km) from India). The compound is 0.8 miles (1.3 km) southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), a prominent military academy that has been compared with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the U.S. and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Britain. Located on a plot of land eight times larger than those of nearby houses, it was surrounded by a 12-to-18-foot (3.7–5.5 m) concrete wall topped with barbed wire. There were two security gates, and the third-floor balcony had a seven-foot-high (2.1 m) privacy wall, tall enough to hide the 6 ft 4 in (193 cm) bin Laden. There was no Internet or landline telephone service to the compound, and its residents burned their refuse, unlike their neighbors who set their garbage out for collection. Local residents called the building the Waziristan Haveli, because they believed the owner was from Waziristan. The compound was demolished in February 2012. Planning and final decision
The CIA briefed Vice Admiral William H. McRaven, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), about the compound in...