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Police seal off area around bin Laden home

May 04, 2011

A Pakistani police officer talks to a motor cyclist at a security check post in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Osama bin Laden was holed up in a two-story house 100 yards from a Pakistani military academy in Abbottabad when four helicopters carrying US anti-terror forces swooped in the early morning hours of Monday and killed him. — AP Photo

ABBOTTABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday stepped up security in the neighbourhood where Osama bin Laden was killed by US commandos, sealing off the area after crowds had flocked to his one-time villa home.

Police early Wednesday closed the Bilal suburb of the relatively well-off garrison town of Abbottabad to media and public, where the Al-Qaeda chief had been living in secrecy in a compound surrounded by towering outer walls.

“More than 300 armed policemen have been deployed at the entry points, as well as in the town and close to the house, for security reasons,” a local police official said on condition of anonymity, without giving further details.

Just over a dozen army troops were also seen moving into the area and standing guard in front of the house.

Local residents returning to their houses were being body-searched and their ID cards checked, with some labourers prevented from going to work in the area, an AFP reporter said.

Since bin Laden's death early Monday, the compound has drawn the world's media and hundreds of curious locals. Dozens of Pakistani youths demonstrated outside the house on Tuesday, mocking America and shouting “Osama is alive!”