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Osama bin Laden killed: how the deadly US raid unfolded

Osama bin Laden was killed by a bullet fired by a United States Navy SEAL during a 40-minute helicopter assault on a fortified compound believed to have been purpose-built to hide the al-Qaeda leader.

Three other men were killed in what a senior Obama administration official described as “a surgical raid by a small team designed to minimise collateral damage”.

These were believed to be two al-Qaeda couriers who lived at the compound, along with their families, and an adult son of bin Laden. A woman being used as a shield by one of the al-Qaeda men during the firefight was also killed and two other women wounded.

A helicopter involved in the raid suffered mechanical failure and was blown up by the American team, none of whom were killed or injured. The Pakistani government was not informed of the raid until after it was over.

Details of the make-up of the team that killed bin Laden were closely guarded but the CIA was closely involved in the planning and execution of the raid.

Troops from a SEAL unit – the US Navy’s elite Special Forces cadre that draws its name from Sea, Air, Land, is understood to have formed its core.

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