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Panetta reveals 'four most nail biting moments in Osama Abbottabad raid'

Washington , Sat, 28 Apr 2012 ANI

Washington, Apr 28(ANI): The most nail biting moment in the Abbottabad raid that killed former Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden came when the helicopters carrying the Navy Seals left Afghan airspace to enter Pakistan's territory, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said.

"When they crossed the border and were going into Pakistan, there were a lot of tense moments about whether or not they would be detected. We were frankly tracking other signals and communications just to see whether there was a tip-off. That didn't happen," The New York Times quoted Panetta, as saying.

He added that the second tense moment came when one of two helicopters crashed inside the Abbottabad compound walls, which was Bin Laden's hideout.

"I asked Admiral McRaven, I said, O.K., what's next?" "He said, don't worry, we're ready for this," he added

He said, NavySeals were, however prepared for such an event with backup helicopters.

The third tense moment came when the SEAL team moved inside the Bin Laden compound, cutting off the video feed and keeping President Barack Obama and his national security officials in Washington largely in the dark for nearly 20 minutes.

The SEAL team, subsequently, encountered Bin Laden in his bedroom and shot him dead.

The fourth tense moment came when the Seals blew up the helicopter that had crashed, so as not to leave its technology behind for the Pakistanis, and, carrying Bin Laden's body, piled into the single helicopter that was still functional and one of the backup helicopters that had by then landed.

"By that time, they had blown the helicopter that was down and you know we had woken up all of Pakistan," Panetta said.

He claimed that killing bin Laden was not a "silver bullet" that destroyed Al Qaeda, but his death has weakened the terrorist group and made the United States safer.

Panetta's remarks were among the first in a series of recollections about the Bin Laden raid by senior Obama administration officials in a tight election year. (ANI)

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