U.S. counter-terrorism officials considered bombing the place - A drone strike on the compound was considered but ruled out because of the danger of killing large numbers of Pakistani civilians.
Instead, President Obama signed an order on Friday for a team of SEALs to chopper onto the compound under the cover of darkness. According to officials who declined to be identified by name, bin Laden was shot in the head during a firefight, and his body was identified to near 100 percent certainty through DNA testing. Photo analysis by the CIA, confirmation by a woman believed to be one of bin Laden's wives, who was also at the compound, and matching physical features added confirmation, they said.
For 40 minutes, the President and his senior aides could do nothing but watch the video screens and listen to the operation and ensuing firefight on the other side of the world in the Situation Room. "We've IDed Geronimo," said a disembodied voice, using the agreed-upon code name for America's most wanted enemy, Osama bin Laden. Word then came that Geronimo had been killed. Only when the last helicopter lifted off some minutes later did the President know that his forces had sustained no casualties.
In addition to bin Laden, one of his sons, Khalid, was killed in the raid, as was the wife who shielded him, Brennan said. Also killed were two of bin Laden's al-Qaida facilitators, including the one who was apparently listed as the owner of the residence. Some individuals found at the compound were left behind when the SEALs withdrew and were turned over to Pakistani authorities who quickly took over control of the site, officials said.
Within 40 minutes, the operation was over, and the SEALs flew out — minus one helicopter, which had malfunctioned and had to be destroyed. [source: Yahoo News]
The elite SEAL unit officially known as Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or "DEVGRU," is part of a special operations brotherhood that calls itself "the quiet professionals." The unit is overseen by the Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees the U.S. Army's Delta Force and other special units.
DEVGRU is the same unit that rescued an American ship captain, Richard Phillips, held hostage on a lifeboat by Somali pirates after his capture from the USS Maersk Alabama in 2009. A DEVGRU unit fired precision shots from the rocking stern of a Naval ship, killing three of four pirates. Check out my post "3 shots 3 kills" which has a news report of the drama as well as what sniper rifles the SEALs might have used.
|3 Shots, 3 Kills!|
The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), commonly known as DEVGRU and informally by its former name SEAL Team Six (ST6), is one of the United States' two secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units (SMUs); the other such group is 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force).
The vast majority of information surrounding DEVGRU is highly classified and details of its activities are not commented on by either the White House or the Department of Defense. While DEVGRU is administratively supported by the Naval Special Warfare Command like the other SEAL Teams, it is operationally commanded by the Joint Special Operations Command.