On this day in 2011, then -President Barack Obama gave a televised addressed to deliver news that U.S. special forces had found and killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
The raid by 23 Navy SEALs on bin Laden came nearly a decade after the deadly September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, orchestrated by bin Laden himself.
U.S. forces found him hiding in plain sight in a large compound in the military city of Abbottabad, Pakistan — just an hour north of the capital, Islamabad.
The raid began around 1 a.m. local time, when SEALs in two Black Hawk helicopters descended on the compound in Abbottabad. One of the helicopters crash-landed in the compound, but no one aboard was hurt.
During the raid, which lasted approximately 40 minutes, five people, including bin Laden and one of his adult sons, were killed by U.S. gunfire. No Americans were injured in the assault.
The SEAL team seized boxes of computer drives and DVDs from bin Laden’s house.
Afterward, bin Laden’s body was flown by helicopter to Afghanistan for official identification, then buried at an undisclosed location in the Arabian Sea less than 24 hours after his death, in accordance with Islamic practice.
Obama has said the risks of going after bin Laden were very high, especially if the information pointing to his hiding place had been inaccurate. But the successful hit on bin Laden — and his presence in a well-known military city in Pakistan — strained relations between Islamabad and Washington.
The United States notified Pakistan of the raid only after its completion.