US Navy SEAL recounts how he killed Laden

A Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden at his Pakistani safe house has finally broken his silence to recount the moments when he shot dead the world's most wanted terrorist.

The SEAL, who decided to remain anonymous, in an interview to the Esquire magazine, said 54-year-old Osama looked taller than he had thought when he encountered the al-Qaeda chief on the third-floor mansion-like hideout in the garrison city of Abbottabad in May, 2011.

The entire process from identification to killing the al-Qaeda chief was over in just 15 seconds, he said. "There was bin Laden standing there. He had his hands on a woman's shoulders, pushing her ahead, not exactly toward me but in the direction of the hallway commotion. It was his youngest wife, Amal," the SEAL said.

The SEALs had nightscopes, but it was coal-black for bin Laden and the other residents. He could hear but he could not see, the SEAL said. "He (Osama) looked confused. And way taller than I was expecting. He had a cap on and didn't appear to be hit. I can't tell you 100 per cent, but he was standing and moving. He was holding her in front of him. Maybe as a shield, I don't know," the Navy SEAL told the magazine.

"For me, it was a snapshot of a target ID, definitely him. Even in our kill houses where we train, there are targets with his face on them. This was repetition and muscle memory. That's him, boom, done," the SEAL said, recounting the events of that night. "He had, like, an almost shaved head. Like a crew cut. I remember all that registering," he said.

"I'm just looking at him from right here (he moves his hand out from his face about ten inches). He's got a gun on a shelf right there, the short AK he's famous for. And he's moving forward," the SEAL said.

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