Osama
Osama bin Laden (L) sits with his adviser and purported successor Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian linked to the al Qaeda network, during an interview with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir (not pictured) in an image supplied by the respected Dawn newspaper November 10, 2001. – Reuters Photo

WASHINGTON: US Navy SEALs led the commando operation in Pakistan that ended the life of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden with a bullet to the head, a US official told AFP.

The SEALs, which stands for Sea, Air, Land, are elite troops used for some of the riskiest anti-terrorism missions, as well as behind-the-lines reconnaissance and unconventional warfare.

On loan to the CIA for the mission Sunday night into Monday, the SEAL team launched the assault from helicopters on a heavily fortified villa in a city near Islamabad that US intelligence had identified as bin Laden's hideout.

“Responsibility for the raid is Leon Panetta's; It was executed by Navy SEALs,” said the official, referring by name to the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

CNN described the operation as a “kill mission” but US officials told AFP bin Laden “resisted as we expected.” The Al-Qaeda leader's body was buried at sea, two officials said on condition of anonymity.

“We wanted to avoid a situation where it would become a shrine,” one of the officials said.

And there was no time for negotiations with other countries to arrange for a possible burial, the official told AFP.

DNA tests have confirmed that Osama bin Laden is dead, a senior US official said Monday, a day after a daring raid by US special forces on the Al-Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan.

The official confirmed on condition of anonymity that a DNA match had been established with bin Laden's body before it was buried at sea after the raid.

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