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Was it Osama's wife or daughter who played human shield?

world Updated: May 04, 2011 01:49 IST

Contrary to the belief that slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden hid behind his wife when confronted by US commandos, the world's most wanted man took cover of his 12-year-old daughter as he was unarmed.

Bin Laden's daughter was present when US forces shot and killed her father at a Pakistani mansion, it has emerged, Daily Mail reports.

New details about the Special Forces raid in Abbottabad city of Pakistan emerged as US officials backtracked on a claim made earlier that a wife of Osama bin Laden acted as a human shield in an unsuccessful bid to save his life.

The fresh reports also revealed that bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot in the face.

Officials had first said that bin Laden stood behind a younger woman - identified by some sources as one of his wives - while firing at US troops with an AK-47.

But as fresh details emerged that up to 19 other people had been living inside the house, it was today unclear which woman had been killed.

Officials from Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the ISI, have given new details about the operation.

An ISI official told the BBC, at least 17 or 18 people were inside the compound at the time of the attack. One of those in the building was a daughter of bin Laden's, thought to be 12, who saw her father fatally shot by US forces, the official claimed.

More details regarding the raid were revealed as US officials corrected earlier remarks which suggested a wife of bin Lade had died after being used as a human shield.

Initially, counter-terrorism official John Brennan had said: "There was family at that compound, and there was a female who was, in fact, in the line of fire that reportedly was used as a shield -- to shield bin Laden from the incoming fire."