Osama Bin Laden Raid: Inconsistencies and Unanswered Questions
Here's the latest from The Guardian, with information reported by U.S. media from statements of officials, and statements by Pakistani officials who interviewed the survivors.
The consistencies: The only shot fired was by the occupant of the guest house. The commandos approached the guest house first, were fired on by the occupant, and fired back, killing the man and his wife.
The guest house was divided from the main house by a big wall. There was no firefight after the guest house and no armed resistance in the main house. In other words, those clarifications by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and the statements of Leon Panetta about prolonged firefights were wrong. [More...]
Conflicting versions persist on the weapons inside the house. Some news reports say the commandos didn't find weapons in his room until they searched after bin Laden was killed, which would mean they didn't see any weapons near him before they killed him.
When Navy SEALs tried to burst through a door at Osama bin Laden's compound, they found a brick wall behind it and had to blast their way through it....Pakistani officials said they did not recover any arms or explosives during their search of the compound, so the Commandos must have taken them, assuming there were any.
...Bin Laden was unarmed but the SEALs later found a pistol and an AK-47 in the room.
Still conflicting versions on which son of Bin Laden's was killed. The U.S. said Khalid, then Hamza, then Khalid. The Guardian says Hamza. But the Guardian also says one of the men in the pool of blood pictures resembles Hamza, while later it says the commandos left with both Osama and his dead son. (Most U.S. news reports say the commandos only took Osama.) And since the pictures were taken by Pakistani officials after the commandos left with Osama, had they also taken his son, his son couldn't be in the picture.
The Guardian says the commandos left four dead bodies at the scene. Either one was bin Laden's son or someone else was killed besides the "courier" and his wife in the guest house, and his relative who was on the first floor of the main house.
Assuming one of the pictures of the dead men is bin Laden's son, I think there is one who looks like Khalid. (Not the skinny guy in the t-shirt.) But it also looks like Saad, who reportedly was killed by a drone in 2009 although the U.S. said it couldn't confirm that. None of them look like Hamza who was much younger. Saad was born in 1979, Khalid in 1989 and Hamza in 1991. Khalid is now Sheikh Khalid bin Laden. Here's a video of him riding a horse.
Here's Khalid, Saad and Hamza (who is probably ten years older by now):
Does anyone else see a similarity between the pinkies of Khalid and one of the deceased photos: both have a ridge in it.
None of the released photos of the deceased resemble Hamza to my eye. Assuming he's not in the photos, either he wasn't there, or he's the dead son and the commandos took his body along with Osama's with them, or he was captured alive and the commandos took him. If the commandos didn't leave Osama's dead son behind, then there's an additional as yet unidentified male who was killed and left behind.
This shouldn't be so complicated.
And then there are reports which say the daughter told Pakistani officials commandos took one brother alive and left one dead at the scene. So both Khalid and Hamza could have been there, both could be dead, or one could be alive and in U.S. custody. Or one could be Sa'ad, missing since 2009 when he was presumed (but never confirmed) dead from a drone attack in Pakistan.
Bin Laden's last wife is Yemeni Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, whom almost all media identify as the woman shot in the calf. They married in 2000 when she was 17. In 2002, they had their first child, who may or may not be the daughter who was injured and who witnessed her father's killing. (News reports say her name is Safia and she told the Pakistanis she is 12 and Saudi, which doesn't make much sense. Most of Osama's other wives are Saudi, but not Amal Ahmed al-Sadah.) She would be Osama's fifth wife. Reportedly, Muslims can only have four wives, but Osama's first wife, Najwa bin Laden, divorced him. Hamza's mother is Khairia Saaba otherwise known as Umm Hamzah.
And what injured Osama's daughter? Some reports say it was shrapnel from a grenade they threw into the bedroom before entering. Who throws a grenade into a room unless it's a kill mission?
The most important questions seem to have been answered: This was a kill mission, Osama had no meaningful chance to surrender, the occupants of the main house fired no weapons and there was no prolonged firefight.
But the questions that remain are important: Which and how many sons of bin Laden were in the house, which and how many were killed, and where are they (or their bodies) now? Was one buried at sea with Osama? The Administration's changing of names of the dead son from Khalid to Hamza back to Khalid is only bound to fuel conspiracy theories that one was taken alive or two were killed.
The Pakistanis have said injured wife Fatah will be returned to Yemen and the U.S. won't be allowed to question her or daughter Safia. So will we ever know?
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