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Osama bin Laden shot dead by Navy SEALs 9 years ago today

Osama bin Laden and adviser Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri during an interview with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir. Hamid in November 2001 in Kabul. (Hamid Mir, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
May 01, 2020

Nine years ago today, on May 1, 2011, Osama bin Laden was shot and killed in Pakistan after U.S. Navy SEALs from SEAL Team Six conducted a raid on his compound in Operation Neptune Spear.

Bin Laden was the founder and first leader of the terrorist group al Qaeda, which carried out the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

He was killed May 2, 2011 in local Pakistan time. For Americans in the United States, the date was May 1 when this took place due to time zone differences.

Rob O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who says he was the one who fired the shots that killed bin Laden during the raid on his Abbottabad compound, has posted to Twitter in the past about the anniversary. He also appeared on Fox & Friends in 2018 to speak about that day.

“How did a kid from Montana who would barely swim become a Navy SEAL and end up right here at this moment,” O’Neill said, recalling watching announcements of bin Laden’s death on TV while the terrorist leader’s dead body was at his feet.

“It was such an awesome night,” he continued. “It was such an honor […] to be a part of that incredible team.”

O’Neill described some of the events of that night, including the moment he came face-to-face with bin Laden.

“I turn a corner after pretty much the bravest act of heroism I’ve ever seen, when the point man jumped on the suicide bombers – I turned to the right based on the way he went, and there was bin Laden standing there about three feet away,” he said.

“We thought we were going to die,” O’Neill later added.

The nation erupted over the news in 2011.

This is the announcement then-President Barack Obama made to the world on May 1, 2011: