Members of the US navy Seal team that killed Osama bin Laden at his hideout in 2011 are making conflicting claims about who actually shot the al-Qaeda leader.
On Thursday, the Washington Post quoted former navy Seal Robert O’Neill as the person who fired the fatal shot. “I shot him, two times in the forehead,” said O’Neill.
O’Neill’s claims were countered by other former Seal team members. One source, speaking anonymously, told Reuters that the fatal shot was fired by one of two other men who entered the room before O’Neill.
The Washington Post said O’Neill acknowledged shots were fired at bin Laden by at least two other Seal team members, including Matt Bissonnette, a former Seal who wrote a 2012 book about the raid entitled “No Easy Day.” The book did not identify the person who shot bin Laden.
Photo: In 2011, Obama thanks troops and members of the special forces team that killed bin Laden
Speaking to NBC news, Bissonnette refused to directly dispute O’Neill’s claims: “”Two different people telling two different stories for two different reasons.
“Whatever he says, he says. I don’t want to touch that.”
Last year, after Esquire Magazine published an interview with an anonymous Seal member, now widely reported to have been O’Neill, who claimed to have shot bin Laden, other media outlets questioned the account.
The official account of what happened is unlikely to be disclosed by the US government for many years.
Bin Laden was discovered to be holed up in a two-storey mansion, surrounded by 5.5 metre-high walls, just 100 metres away from a Pakistani army base in Abbottabad and about 80km from the capital Islamabad.
After news of his shooting in 2011, US President Barack Obama said: “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant acheivement to date in our nation’s effort to deal with al-Qaeda.”