CNN | In the dark of night, U.S. helicopters approached a high-walled compound in Pakistan on a mission to capture or kill one of the world’s most notorious terrorist leaders.
Less than 40 minutes later — early Monday morning in Pakistan — Osama bin Laden was dead, along with four others inside the complex, and the U.S. forces departed with the slain al Qaeda leader’s body to fulfill a vow that originated shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
And as he announced the raid at the White House Sunday night, U.S. President Barack Obama called bin Laden’s death “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.”
This official and others briefed reporters on further details on the assault on the compound, which they believe was built five years ago for the specific purpose of hiding bin Laden.
The compound is in Abbottabad, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. The city sits in a mountainous region of Pakistan and is not heavily populated. Many of the residents are army personnel.
While senior administration officials would not offer a breakdown of the U.S. mission’s composition, a senior defense official said U.S. Navy SEALs were involved.
After years of intelligence work and months of following a specific lead, they traced a courier linked to bin Laden to the compound in Abbottabad.
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