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The Killer’s Lair

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The Karakoram highway leading into Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Monday, May 2. Osama bin Laden had been quietly hiding here, in a three-story house about one-third of a mile away from Pakistan's premier military academy. That all changed on Sunday, however, when four helicopters carrying U.S. Navy SEALs swooped into the town during the early morning hours and killed him.  

 

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Pakistani soldiers on May 2 drive down the road toward the compound where bin Laden was killed. After the terrorist mastermind was killed in a firefight, U.S. forces took possession of the body and conducted a burial at sea.

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A satellite image of the compound where bin Laden was hiding on June 15, 2005. The residence is located a couple hours' drive from Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

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Bin Laden's hideout, as seen after the firefight leading to his death. The Pakistani government released a statement describing the killing as a "major setback" for terrorist organizations and a "major victory" in the country's fight against militancy. However, a statement released by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry also said that the U.S. unilateral operation on Pakistani soil "shall not serve as a future precedent for any state."  

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Pakistani soldiers stand guard outside of bin Laden's former compound. U.S. officials said that Pakistan was only informed of the operation after U.S. troops had left Pakistani airspace.

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The discovery of bin Laden in a town with a significant Pakistani military presence has raised concerns that some elements of the country's security apparatus were aware of his existence, a charge Pakistani officials vehemently deny.  Pakistan's powerful intelligence services have been known to sponsor and protect other Islamist groups operating within Pakistani territory.

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Three local Pakistani boys sit on a wall in front of bin Laden's compound on May 4. Pakistan said the world must share the blame for failing to unearth the terrorist chief earlier.

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A Pakistani policeman attempts to stop the media scrum outside of bin Laden's compound. The bullet-riddled villa was put under police control, as journalists and locals sought a glimpse of the debris left by the U.S. raid.

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Crowds quickly gathered outside the compound to gawk at bin Laden's hideout. Residents said that those who lived in the compound led secretive lives. When children would kick a ball over the compound's walls, neighbors said, those inside would simply give them money to buy a new ball rather than allowing them inside to retrieve it.

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Pakistani boys collect debris outside the Abbottabad compound. One of the four U.S. helicopters involved in the raid stalled during the assault and was unable to take off again, U.S. forces destroyed it rather than risk letting it fall into the wrong hands.

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Local residents try to get a look inside bin Laden's compound as members of the media set up their cameras below.

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Pakistani photographers take pictures of the sealed gate outside of bin Laden's former hideout.


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A flock of sheep meanders past bin Laden's former compound. Residents said that they were shocked the terrorist chief had chosen Abbottabad as his hideout. As one local said, "This whole city is such a high-security zone. How could someone like that hide here?"

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