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A Timeline on the Special Forces Defeat of Bin Laden

The US Navy Seals executed an operation that resulted in the led to the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011.  Here’s what we know so far:

* Four years ago: Officials uncovered a courier’s identity who they believe may have strong ties to Osama.

* Two years ago: Investigators identified areas of Pakistan where the courier and his brother lived.

*  August 2010: The residence of the courier and his brother was found in Abbottabad, 30 to 35 miles north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital.

* September 2010: The CIA worked with President Barack Obama “on a set of assessments that led it to believe that in fact it was possible” bin Laden may be at the compound in Abbottabad.

* February 2011: U.S. officials concluded there was a “sound intelligence basis” for pursuing bin Laden at that location.

* March and April 2011. President Barack Obama held a series of National Security Council meetings “to develop courses of action to bring justice to Osama bin Laden.” There were at least five NSC meetings — March 14, March 29, April 12, April 19, and April 28.

* April 29, 2011. President Obama gave the final order to pursue the operation.

* May 2, 2011. After months of decision-making and planning, a U.S. military team conducted a small helicopter raid on the compound. The officials did not provide a breakdown of team members, but a senior U.S. defense official said U.S. Navy SEALs were involved in the operation.

The senior administration officials provided these details of the raid:

* The team was in the compound for 40 minutes. It did not encounter any local authorities during the raid.

* Bin Laden resisted the assault force and died in a firefight. Along with bin Laden, three adult males were killed.

* Two were believed to be the couriers and one was a son of bin Laden.

* A woman used as a human shield by a male combatant died and two women were injured.

* A helicopter was lost because of mechanical failure.

* Intelligence on bin Laden was not shared with Pakistan and other countries.

* After the raid, U.S. officials briefed Pakistani and other world leaders.

* Bin Laden has been buried at sea and his body was handled in the Islamic tradition.  (via CNN)