Bin Laden, the Saudi-born architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 had been hunted by the US and its allies for a decade. The then US President George W. Bush had declared in 2001 that he was “Wanted: Dead or Alive”.
Flying from bases in Afghanistan, a US Navy SEAL team was tasked with capturing or killing Bin Laden.
Disaster for the Americans almost struck in the early part of the operation when a Blackhawk helicopter hit technical trouble and was forced into an emergency landing.
When the SEAL team safety disembarked, they soon found themselves in a fierce gun battle with the occupants of the compound.
In the ensuing firefight, Bin Laden and three other men died. A woman was also killed.
After the fighting, the SEAL team quickly gathered papers and other materials in the two buildings and clambered back on helicopters, taking Bin Laden’s corpse with them.
Before leaving, the troops blew up the damaged Blackhawk.
Bin Laden’s body was flown to a US warship in the northern part of the Arabian Sea and buried at sea. The hour-long ceremony aboard the USS Carl Vinson was conducted according to Islamic law.
The raid was quick, risky and deadly — but ultimately a massive success, the product of months of intelligence gathering and careful.
After President Obama announced the raid’s success in finding and killing Bin Laden, massive celebrations broke out across the US.
August 2010 – US intelligence sources identify the Abbottabad compound as the home of an Al Qaeda courier and his brother, who have no obvious means of affording a $1 million home.
September 2010 – The CIA informs then US President Barack Obama that Bin Laden may be living in the Abbottabad compound. They base this on the size and price tag of the compound as well as the elaborate security.
February 2011 – The intelligence on the Abbottabad compound is considered strong enough to begin planning action.
April 29, 2011 – Mr Obama gives the order to raid Bin Laden’s compound.
May 2, 2011 – In the early morning hours a group of 25 US Navy Seals raid the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
May 4, 2011 – White House Press Secretary Carney announces that President Obama has decided not to release photos of Bin Laden’s body.
May 6, 2011 – Al Qaeda confirms bin Laden’s death, in a statement on jihadist forums.