In a dramatic tweet-by-tweet account, Sohaib Athar and Mohsin Shah gave their Twitter followers live coverage of the middle-of-the-night raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in illustrating the rising importance – and limits – of online social networks.
While the pair are believed to have independently provided the first accounts of the raid, they and their followers had no idea that the attack was on the al-Qaida leader. They would find out from television news reports several hours later.
In a tweet Monday morning, Athar wrote, “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who live blogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”
Athar and Shah began sending out tweets, or 140-character messages, shortly before 1 a.m. in Pakistan, documenting abnormal helicopter flybys, a copter crash and then an explosion.
Their tweets generated global interest and turned them into instant if reluctant Internet celebrities. One of Athar’s last tweets Monday: “Bin Laden is dead. I didn’t kill him. Please let me sleep now.”
Obama’s demeanor belied SEALs raid
Washington – In a remarkable 72 hours of his presidency, Barack Obama carried a momentous secret and gave no hint of it as he consoled tornado victims, delivered a college commencement address and cracked jokes at a black-tie dinner.
What few insiders knew was that Obama gave the go-ahead Friday for the military operation that would end with the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, target of the world’s most intense manhunt.
After giving his consent, Obama, wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia left the White House on a busy day of travel, with stops in Alabama and Florida.
On Saturday, Obama attended the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner and lobbed a few barbs at Donald Trump.
On Sunday, Obama headed for the Andrews Air Force Base golf course, as he does on many weekends. But he only played nine holes, instead of his customary 18. The reporters who accompany him on public outings thought the chilly, rainy weather played into his decision to leave earlier than usual.
Actually, Obama was headed for a meeting to review final preparations for the operation against bin Laden.
Bin Laden recording may be released
Washington – U.S. intelligence officials believe Osama bin Laden made a propaganda recording shortly before his death and expect that tape to surface soon.
It’s unclear whether the tape is audio or video, but a U.S. official said that intelligence indicates it’s already working its way through al-Qaida’s media pipeline. The official said the timing was coincidental and there’s no indication he knew U.S. forces were bearing down on him.
A new recording from bin Laden would provide a final word from beyond the grave for a terrorist who taunted the U.S. with recorded propaganda for years. It could also provide fodder to those who insist he is still alive.
FBI updates website with bin Laden’s fate
Washington – The FBI has certified its most-wanted target, Osama bin Laden, as deceased, with its website now updated to reflect his death Sunday in Pakistan.
Bin Laden had been atop the FBI’s Most Wanted list. “The mastermind of the attacks on September 11, 2001, that killed thousands of innocent men, women, and children has been killed,” the bureau announced in a statement on its site.
Raid draws praise from Muslim leader
New York – The Muslim leader behind plans for a controversial mosque near the World Trade Center site is praising President Barack Obama after the death of Osama bin Laden.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said Monday that Obama’s actions help support “people in the Arab world who are also fighting against terrorism by their own rulers.”
Rauf said bin Laden’s death can bring “closure and healing around 9/11.”
In March, Rauf and his wife, activist Daisy Khan, said they were pursuing other avenues for an Islamic community center and mosque following a rift with the project’s developer.
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