Nicholas Schmindle reports in the New Yorker on what happened leading up to and during the raid that killed Bin Laden.
The Americans hurried toward the bedroom door. The first SEAL pushed it open. Two of bin Ladenâ€™s wives had placed themselves in front of him. Amal al-Fatah, bin Ladenâ€™s fifth wife, was screaming in Arabic. She motioned as if she were going to charge; the SEAL lowered his sights and shot her once, in the calf. Fearing that one or both women were wearing suicide jackets, he stepped forward, wrapped them in a bear hug, and drove them aside. He would almost certainly have been killed had they blown themselves up, but by blanketing them he would have absorbed some of the blast and potentially saved the two SEALs behind him. In the end, neither woman was wearing an explosive vest.
A second SEAL stepped into the room and trained the infrared laser of his M4 on bin Ladenâ€™s chest. The Al Qaeda chief, who was wearing a tan shalwar kameez and a prayer cap on his head, froze; he was unarmed. â€œThere was never any question of detaining or capturing himâ€”it wasnâ€™t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,â€ the special-operations officer told me. (The Administration maintains that had bin Laden immediately surrendered he could have been taken alive.) Nine years, seven months, and twenty days after September 11th, an American was a trigger pull from ending bin Ladenâ€™s life. The first round, a 5.56-mm. bullet, struck bin Laden in the chest. As he fell backward, the SEAL fired a second round into his head, just above his left eye. On his radio, he reported, â€œFor God and countryâ€”Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.â€ After a pause, he added, â€œGeronimo E.K.I.A.â€â€”â€œenemy killed in action.â€
Hearing this at the White House, Obama pursed his lips, and said solemnly, to no one in particular, â€œWe got him.â€