Who shot Osama bin Laden? Row over claims deepens mystery

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Nov 08, 2014 07:39 IST

Robert James O’Neil, a US Navy SEAL 6 commando, is claiming he killed Osama bin Laden. He first told his story as The Shooter in 2013. Now he has identified himself.

But his claim, made in interviews to Washington Post and Fox News, has run into trouble with former fellow SEALS and officials telling other media outlets insisting it was not him.

The commando who was leading the assault on the third floor of bin Laden’s Abbottabad fortress — called the point man — took the first shot, killing the terrorist. O’Neil and others —another SEAL, Matt Bissonnette, who wrote a book about the encounter — fired “insurance shots”, according to this account, to make sure bin Laden was dead.

According to O’Neil, the point man did indeed take the first shot, but probably missed. “I rolled past him into the room, just inside the doorway,” O’Neill told the Post. “There was bin Laden, standing there. He had his hands on a woman’s shoulders pushing her ahead. … In that second I shot him, two times in the forehead,” he said. “Bap! Bap! The second time, as he is going down. He crumbled to the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again.”

Bissonnette wrote in his book that the point man shot bin Laden in the head and then he and others followed up. “In his death throes, he was still twitching and convulsing. Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds.” O’Neil is also getting grief from his former colleagues for breaching the secrecy rule.

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