Rob O’Neill: US Navy Seal claims team never planned to take Osama bin Laden alive

O’Neill claims he fired shot that fatally killed al-Qaeda leader

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The Independent US

The US Navy Seal who claims to have killed Osama bin Laden says the team had no intention of capturing the al-Qaeda leader alive as they planned to raid his compound.

Rob O’Neill gave his highly anticipated interview about the night bin Laden was killed for ‘The Man who killed Osama bin Laden’, broadcast on Fox News, after he was publicly named for the first time last week.

The 38-year-old was one of 23 members of the Navy’s elite Seal Team 6 who flew into Abbottabad, Pakistan, to raid bin Laden’s compound on 2 May 2011.

In part one of the interview, O’Neill said he was convinced he and his team would not survive the mission.

“The more we trained on it the more we realised this is going to be a one-way mission,” O'Neill told the broadcaster. 

“We’re going to go and we’re not going to come back.

 “We’re going to die when the house blows up, we’re going to die when he blows up, or we’re going to be there too long, we get arrested by the Pakistanis, and we’re going to spend the rest of our short lives in a Pakistan prison.”

Despite the dangers, O’Neill recalled pushing to become a part of the group landing on the rooftop of the compound – one of the most dangerous positions – in order to jump into the balcony and “have a shoot-out with bin Laden”.

He said the team believed the mission was worth sacrificing their own lives, saying: "We are going to die eventually, this is a good way to go and it's worth it to kill him. He's going to die with us.

"To be part of something so historic, you can't ask for more...we wanted it bad," he continued. "It's it. It doesn’t get any better. This is it this is why we're here. We are at war because of this guy and now we are going to go get him."

Osama Bin Laden

O’Neill gave his first interview on the raid anonymously to Esquire magazine in 2013.

He says the point man tried to shoot bin Laden but missed, so he killed the target himself with two close-range shots to the head.

However, his version of events has been disputed by other Seals and military sources. Fellow Seal Matt Bissonette, who was also on the mission, wrote in his book No Easy Day that the point man’s shot hit bin Laden in the head and he and a team-mate then shot him in the chest.

Meanwhile, anonymous military chiefs quoted by CNN insisted it was the unidentified “point man” who fired the fatal shot and that when Mr O’Neill and Mr Bissonette burst into the bedroom, they merely shot more bullets into the al-Qaeda chief who was already fatally wounded.