ISLAMABAD, May 2 (Xinhua) -- A short statement released Monday afternoon by the Pakistani foreign office confirmed the death of Osama bin Laden in a military operation conducted by the U.S. forces early Monday morning in a small mountainous town near Islamabad, capital of Pakistan.
The statement, which was released shortly after a meeting summoned by the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, said that the Pakistani armed forced were not involved in the operation that led to the killing of bin Laden, the world's most-wanted terrorist who is believed to be a mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attack in the United States in 2001.
The statement also said that it was the U.S. President Barack Obama who informed the Pakistani President Zardari through telephone about the death of bin Laden after the military operation was conducted by the U.S. forces.
In the wee hours of Monday, the U.S. special forces conducted a search operation in the Sikandarabad area of Abbotabad, a small mountainous town located some 60 kilometers north of Islamabad.
During the reportedly two-hour-long operation, the U.S. special forces reportedly killed bin Laden together with one of his sons, one woman whose identity is yet to be confirmed and his three armed followers. Six children of bin Laden, his two wives and four close friends were also reportedly arrested in the operation.
One of the four U.S. Cobra helicopters involved in the operation was shot down, killing one pilot whose identity is also not known at this point.
Eyewitnesses in the area told Xinhua that electricity was cut off in the area during the operation.
Usman, an 18-year-old college student in the area, told Xinhua that he was sitting atop the roof of his house when he saw two helicopters hovering near a girls college in the area.
Following this, he heard fire form the area and the two helicopters flew away, but some time later another two helicopters came back again.
Usman said one of the choppers crashed after a loud explosion was heard.
Qadeer Ahmad, another local resident in the area, told Xinhua correspondents in Abbotabad that the house in which bin Laden was believed to be killed was a three-story house built nine years ago in a farmland which is far away from other houses.
Qadeer Ahmad said he was employed to build the house, which has a lot of basements. The contractor of the house then told Ahmad that he built a lot of basements because he had enmities with some people and needed protection of himself.
Qadeer Ahmad was later fired by the contractor due to unknown reasons.
According to Ahmad, the house is surrounded by wall with barbed wires atop and it has four bodyguard towers at each of the four corners of the wall.
But he said that only occasionally he saw armed bodyguards in the towers.
Ahmad said that he had never seen any Arab-looking men or women around the house, but he did often see some Pashtoons coming into the house from the northwestern part of the country.
Local residents told Xinhua that many of them took videos and pictures when the operation was conducted in the area with their own cameras and mobiles, but the security forces later visited each of the houses in the neighboring area close to the operation and removed all the video and photo records taken by them.
Xinhua correspondents in Abbotabad said no one was allowed to enter the area where the operation took place and security forces guarding the area refused to answer any questions from the media.
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6 children, two wives of Bin Laden arrested in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Local Urdu TV channel Duniya quoted sources as saying that six children, two wives of Osama Bin Laden were arrested along with his four close friends in a search operation launched early Monday morning by the Pakistani forces in a mountainous area located some 60 kilometers north of Pakistan's capital Islamabad.Full story
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