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.