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US insists bin Laden killed during firefight

[ 2011-05-06 10:49]     字号 [] [] []  
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US officials sought to keep a lid on growing skepticism over Washington's version of events around Osama bin Laden's death, insisting the al-Qaida leader was killed during a firefight in the compound in Pakistan where he was hiding.

The White House has cited the "fog of war" as a reason for initial misinformation on whether bin Laden - who was shot in the head - was armed when US Navy SEALs raided his compound in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad early on Monday.

Citing US officials, NBC reported on Wednesday that four of the five people killed in the operation, including bin Laden, were unarmed and never fired a shot - an account that differs from the administration's original assertions the commandos engaged in a prolonged firefight.

The New York Times quoted administration officials as saying the only shots fired by those in the compound came at the start of the raid when bin Laden's courier fired from a guesthouse adjacent to the building where the al-Qaida leader was holed up.

US President Barack Obama resisted pressure from aides to release photographs of bin Laden's body, saying the images could incite violence and be used by militants as a propaganda tool.

"I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk," Obama told the CBS program 60 Minutes.

"There's no doubt that bin Laden is dead," Obama added. "And so we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference. There are going be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again."

Photographs acquired by Reuters and taken about an hour after the assault show three dead men - not including bin Laden - lying in pools of blood. No weapons could be seen in the closely cropped images.

The photos, taken by a Pakistani security official who was in the compound after the raid, show two men dressed in traditional Pakistani garb and one in a T-shirt, blood streaming from their ears, noses and mouths.


(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

US insists bin Laden killed during firefight

About the broadcaster:

US insists bin Laden killed during firefight

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.