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Osama was unarmed when killed: White House

Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was unarmed when US Navy commandoes shot him dead during a special operation in Pakistan though he did offer resistance, the White House said today.

world Updated: May 04, 2011 02:10 IST

Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was unarmed when US Navy commandoes shot him dead during a special operation in Pakistan though he did offer resistance, the White House said today.

"He was not armed," White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters here but added that several other people in the building in Abbottabad had weapons and there was a "volatile firefight".

Carney read out a revised White House statement on the operation that took out the world's most wanted man at a press briefing.

He said revised narrative corrects errors in the earlier statements including the claim that bin Laden used a woman as a "human shield".

"There was concern bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed, he did resist," Carney said.

He said bin Laden's wife, who was present at the mansion, was shot in the leg, but not killed.

"Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed," Carney said.

The spokesperson also said that the picture of bin laden's body was "gruesome" and the administration was disucssing whether it should be made public.

"It is fair to say it is a gruesome photograph ... it could be inflammatory," he said.

Osama was shot in the head during the special US operation.

Carney also said that the major development would not affect plans to begin troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in July.

Giving a recap of the events, Carney said on orders of the US President, a small US team assaulted a secure compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad to capture or kill Osama.

Carney's statement was an effort by the White House to clear the confusion with regard to various statements and news reports coming on this issue in various media outlets.

The raid was conducted with US military personnel assaulting on two helicopters, he said.

The team methodically cleared the compound moving from room to room in an operation lasting nearly 40 minutes.

"They were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation and Osama bin Laden was killed by the assaulting force," Carney said.

He said in addition to the bin Laden family, two other families resided in the compound.

"One team began the operation on the first floor of the bin Laden house and worked their way to the third floor; a second team cleared the separate building," he said.

He said on the first floor of the building, two al Qaeda couriers were killed along with a woman who died in cross-fire.

Bin Laden and his family were found on the second and third floor of the building.