Split in Two: SEAL Who 'Shot' Bin Laden Reveals Graphic Details on How Badly Deformed His Face Was
© AP Photo / RAHIMULLAH YOUSAFZAIIn this Dec. 24, 1998, file photo, al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in mountains of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.
© AP Photo / RAHIMULLAH YOUSAFZAI
The identification of bin Laden was apparently no more problematic than locating and killing him, according to what the SEAL operative said of the state of Bin Laden's face post mortem.
Rob O’Neill, a member of the SEAL Team Six, who claims to have delivered the fatal shot to Osama Bin Laden's head in 2011, revealed the details of Operation Neptune Spear – specifically how badly the terrorist's face was deformed.
Bin Laden, one of the most notorious terrorists of all time, was shot three times in his face by rifle hollow-point bullets which almost split his face in two. This type of ammunition, generally banned in the military around the world, explodes on impact devastating flesh instead of simply penetrating it.
"I shot him three times in the face at the close range with [5.56mm] 77 grain hollow point – and that is a devastating round. It split [his face] from [tip of his nose to forehead]. And that's why we'd pour water on him [and] I had to squeeze [his head] together to get a picture".
O’Neill went on to say he had seen some fake pictures online, claiming to show Bin Laden's post-mortem face, and noted that they came nowhere near how brutal it was in reality. Earlier reports suggested that the US officials had trouble identifying the terrorist post mortem at a base in Afghanistan.
The SEAL operative further explained that he shot him in the face, because shooting him in the chest might not have stopped him, for example from triggering a suicide vest.
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O’Neill also discussed the possibility of taking the terrorist alive. Although he admitted that it could have been done under certain ideal conditions, the SEAL claimed that a US official, whom he did not name, essentially gave them a green light to shoot bin Laden on sight.
"We asked a senior guy: 'What are the rules [of engagement] on this one, sir?' And he was like: 'Well, technically Osama Bin Laden is a threat to the United States of America, which makes him a threat to you. So if you see him…' And we were like: 'Nuff said, sir, we've got you'".
Bin Laden was killed on 2 May 2011 (local time; 1 May 20:00 GMT) after the US got intelligence that he was hiding in a compound in Bilal Town, Pakistan. Despite troubled identification, his remains were buried at sea within 24 hours after all proper Muslim religious rites were carried out. However, the lack of confirmation photos and burial at sea provoked the emergence of numerous conspiracy theories claiming that this wicked terrorist was still alive.