Wednesday 13 November 2019

Bloodbath inside lair revealed in pictures

Photos of main target deemed 'too gruesome' for release

Susan Cornwell in Washington

These are some of the gruesome images of the bloodbath inside Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad.

The unidentified men, who were with the al-Qa'ida leader in the compound, were shot by US forces during Monday's dramatic raid.

While pictures of some of the dead have emerged, the White House last night decided not to release photos of Bin Laden's body because they are "too gruesome" and may provoke further outrage among Islamists.

"President Barack Obama has decided against photo release," a US official told reporters.

Former presidential candidate John Kerry confirmed that he had been told the photographs would not be released.

"I believe it is absolutely the right decision," said Mr Kerry, who is the Senate's foreign relations committee chairman.

"In the absence of some major challenge to the fact of death, there is no clamour that I can discern requiring proof of death and I think it would in fact create a kind of ghoulish exploitation that is not appropriate. . . it could encourage repercussions in parts of the world," he said.

The Obama administration has been wrestling with whether to make public what it calls a gruesome image of bin Laden's corpse, even as Islamic militants are questioning whether US forces really killed him.

US forces who raided the compound where Bin Laden was living in Pakistan on Monday shot Bin Laden in the face, one US official revealed yesterday.

This official said yesterday that bits of brain were visible in photos of the corpse.

Senator Kelly Ayotte told reporters at the US Capitol the photo she saw confirmed Bin Laden's identity. She said it was a facial shot and that another senator had shown it to her.

"I saw a photo of him deceased, the head area. Obviously he had been wounded. . . I can't give any better description than that," she said.

Asked if the photo confirmed the identity of the dead man as Bin Laden, Ms Ayotte said, "My view, yes."

Ms Ayotte spoke to reporters after CIA Director Leon Panetta gave a closed-door briefing on Bin Laden's death to senators on the US Armed Services and Intelligence committees.

But there was no indication that she had seen the photo during that forum.

Other senators who attended the briefing said they had not seen Bin Laden photos, and one aide said none were shown.

US lawmakers disagree over whether the photos of Bin Laden should be released to the public.

Ms Ayotte said they should -- to help quash any doubts about whether Bin Laden was dead.

"Unfortunately, we've seen that in many instances around the world there can be conspiracy theories about these types of events.

"So I think it's important in terms of closure, that while nobody wants to see disturbing photos, the closure aspect I think is very important."

Irish Independent

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