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US Navy SEALs row over Osama shooting

IANS 07 Nov 2014, 23:39:59 PM IST

Washington: A public row has arisen over which US commando killed Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan three years ago, media reports said Friday.

Former Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill, 38, has told the Washington Post in an interview that he fired the fatal shot, BBC reported, adding that O'Neill's account contradicts the account of Matt Bissonnette, another former SEAL involved in the raid, in a 2012 book.

The Al Qaeda leader was killed in a 2011 Navy SEAL raid on a compound in Pakistan's Abbottabad town.

Navy SEALs usually abide by a code of silence that forbids them from publicly taking credit for their actions.

O'Neill, who became a public speaker after his 16 years of service in the US military, was decorated 52 times. He retired in 2012.

The veteran was scheduled to reveal his identity in a television interview later this month, but news of the interview angered other former SEALs.

The identity of O'Neill, 38, was revealed by the special operations community blog SPFrep.com, apparently in protest at his decision to claim credit for the shooting.

O'Neill said he and another member of the team -- whose identity remains secret -- climbed the stairs to the third floor of the compound in Abbottabad, and saw Bin Laden poke his head outside the door of one of the rooms.

The unnamed commando, at the "point position" leading the column, fired at him but missed, according to him. An instant later, O'Neill went into the room and killed the Al Qaeda leader with shots to the head, he said.