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Osama bin Laden not armed when killed

A U.S. commando’s curt message to superiors signaled the end had come for the world’s most wanted terrorist: “Geronimo EKIA,” meaning enemy killed in action. Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader who liked to pose with a menacing AK-47 assault rifle in his hand or by his side, was discovered without a gun by the Navy SEALs who barged into his room and shot him dead. The White House on Tuesday gave a more complete picture of the assault — and corrected some key details from earlier official accounts — as the team that pulled off the storied raid in
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The ever-changing White House story on bin Laden’s death

Killing Osama bin Laden was a big victory for the U.S., but how exactly the raid went down is another story — and another, and another. Over two days, the White House has offered contradictory versions of events, including misidentifying which of bin Laden’s sons was killed and wrongly saying bin Laden’s wife died in gunfire, as it tries to sort through what the president’s press secretary called the “fog of combat” and produce an accurate account. Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that officials were trying to get information out as quickly as possible about the complex event witnessed
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With bin Laden gone, what’s next for U.S. war policy?

The demise of Osama bin Laden complicates what was already a tough call for President Barack Obama: how to wind down the nearly decade-old war in Afghanistan. Now the symbolic reason for staying in the fight — to get al-Qaida’s leader and avenge 9/11 — has been undercut. Momentum had been building in Congress and elsewhere for a shift to a narrower, less costly military mission in Afghanistan even before the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden. This could suit Obama’s desire to put Afghanistan behind him by beginning a phased troop pullout this summer along with NATO partners. But
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Watching history unfold from afar

Taut and riveting, the photo takes the world inside history: Around a lacquered table in the Situation Room, the president and his team are watching a heart-pounding hunt for a killer, Osama bin Laden. President Barack Obama leans forward, deadly serious. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton holds her right hand over her mouth, a worried look on her face. Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates stare stone-faced. So do the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the national security adviser and the White House chief of staff. So what exactly were they watching on that
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Pakistan expresses displeasure over bin Laden raid

Pakistan criticized the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden as an “unauthorized unilateral action,” laying bare the strains the operation has put on an already rocky alliance. U.S. legislators along with the leaders of Britain and France questioned how the Pakistani government could not have known the al-Qaida leader was living in a garrison town less than a two-hour drive from the capital and had apparently lived there for years. “I find it hard to believe that the presence of a person or individual such as bin Laden in a large compound in a relatively small town … could
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One phone call led to bin Laden’s eventual death

When one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted aides picked up the phone last year, he unknowingly led U.S. pursuers to the doorstep of his boss, the world’s most wanted terrorist. That phone call, recounted Monday by a U.S. official, ended a years-long search for bin Laden’s personal courier, the key break in a worldwide manhunt. The courier, in turn, led U.S. intelligence to a walled compound in northeast Pakistan, where a team of Navy SEALs shot bin Laden to death. [Related: What is the Joint Special Operations Command?] The violent final minutes were the culmination of years of intelligence
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As expected, doubters question bin Laden death claim

Knowing there would be disbelievers, the U.S. says it used convincing means to confirm Osama bin Laden’s identity during and after the firefight that killed him. But the mystique that surrounded the terrorist chieftain in life is persisting in death. Was it really him? How do we know? Where are the pictures? Already, those questions are spreading in Pakistan and surely beyond. In the absence of photos and with his body given up to the sea, many people don’t believe bin Laden — the Great Emir to some, the fabled escape artist of the Tora Bora mountains to foe and
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Americans find needed closure in bin Laden’s death

To surf American airwaves, to read American comments on the Internet by the thousands, to walk American streets on the day after Osama bin Laden’s astonishing demise meant you’d almost certainly hear some variation of a single telling word: “closure.” As in ending. As in end of story — at least, the primary story arc of Osama bin Laden, which for most Americans began in the eastern United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and ended in Pakistan in the early moments of May 2, 2011, in one of the most dramatic undoings imaginable. While Americans reveled in the demise of
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Another success for Navy’s fabled SEAL Team 6

The raid that killed Osama bin Laden will go down in history as the most important covert operation since 9/11, earning the elite Navy SEAL team that carried it out permanent bragging rights for finishing off the most-wanted terrorist on Earth. It was a near-textbook operation, despite the near-failure of one of the helicopters carrying the raiders. They all made it into Osama bin Laden’s high-walled compound in Pakistan, sliding down ropes in darkness, as they’ve done on so many raids hunting militants since al-Qaida declared war on the United States. The Navy SEALs won’t confirm they carried out the
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Islamic scholars unhappy with bin Laden’s burial at sea

Muslim clerics said Monday that Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition that may further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks against American targets. Although there appears to be some room for debate over the burial — as with many issues within the faith — a wide range of senior Islamic scholars interpreted it as a humiliating disregard for the standard Muslim practice of placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca. Sea burials can be allowed, they said, but only in special cases where the death
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