Book: SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden

This book is written by an ex-SEAL (retired 20 years ago) but the author claims that the killing of ben Laden (as he told it) was based on information sourced from some of the SEALs who were actually in the operation. One should take what he relates with a grain of salt though. In fact the US military has disvowed the book’s version of the actual events. Still…here’s a excerpt from the book:

A door in the third-floor hallway opened. Osama stuck his head out, saw the Americans, and slammed the door loudly. One of the operators hit his inter-squad radio and called out, “Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo,” indicating that he had “eyes on.” Some of the assaulters ran toward Osama’s door as the stairwell lights suddenly lit up, switched on from the second floor. Khalid bin Laden ran up the stairs to the landing. When he saw the men remaining at the top of the stairs, a green laser swept from the wall toward his chest, and as his momentum carried him forward, two suppressed shots were fired. Khalid was struck in the chest just below his throat. He twisted forward, landing on his right side with his arm tucked under his head. A pair of spent cartridges tinkled down the cement stairs past his corpse.

In the hallway above, the first assaulter reached the door where Bin Laden had been glimpsed. He waited two seconds to feel that another operator had joined him, then kicked the door open and went inside. He was followed closely by his shooting partner.

The blinding lights on their weapons swept down a short hallway, and then into the open space of the bedchamber. The lights and lasers swept into the room, illuminating the figures of a man and a woman. The woman was shouting but seemed to be moving in slow motion. So, too, the man behind her—he was moving toward the bed, just reaching it, diving across it—but all of this seemed to be unfolding in a slide show: click, click, click. The lights on the SEALs’ weapons clearly illuminated AKSU machine pistol leaning against the left side of the bed. The SEALs both saw it, both measured its length and breadth and determined that the man was turning, extending his hand and reaching toward it. The man with the beard shoved the woman toward the men and moved behind her. He was a threat; the woman was nothing. He was one. She was zero. The SEALs lifted their weapons and tracked the man.

Amal was screaming. She’d heard the voices in the hallway, and a multisyllable word said over and over. “Geronimo” was even now crackling from headsets all over the compound. She had been shoved toward the end of the mattress, kneeling half on and half off, steadying herself on the end of the bed. To her left, two SEALs aimed past her and their lights converged. She shouted in Arabic, “No, no, don’t do this.”
Osama was standing by the back wall. He dived across the king-size bed to get at the AKSU rifle he kept by the headboard. The room smelled like old clothing, like a guest bedroom in a grandmother’s house, a place sort of frozen in time. Pinned in the lights, Amal lifted her hands to her eyes. She said, “It’s not him,” in Arabic, and then something else that the operators could not hear.

Four suppressed shots were fired, two rounds and two rounds. Both SEALs discharged their weapons in the same second and the reports all seemed pushed together into a single phrase. The first round sailed past Osama’s face and thudded into the mattress. Osama shoved Amal as he clawed across the bed. A second bullet, aimed at Osama’s head, grazed Amal in the calf. SEALs do not shoot to wound: they are trained to shoot to kill. Amal was hit because Osama placed her between himself and the men who entered his bedroom. As his wife crouched forward, wounded, Osama’s hand reached for his AKSU. He never made it. Two U.S. Navy M855 5.56 mm Predator bullets slammed into him. One struck him next to his breastbone, blowing apart his aorta. The last bullet went through his skull, killing him instantly.

The author, Chuck Pfarrer’s version however did not differ greatly from the official US version in its general outline: Osama ben Laden was in a room with a woman, and as the SEAls entered the bedroom, he was not immediately armed.

To my mind, this begged the question: why didn’t the SEALs used flash bangs? Maybe they were under orders not to capture ben Laden alive.


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