One Navy SEAL Gave Osama Bin Laden’s Wives a Big Hug

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The site of a three-person hug, and also the death of the world's most-wanted man. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

This was not the kind of hug meant to console someone after fatally shooting her husband in the chest, although that would also have been a nice gesture, time permitting. No, it was the type of unfathomably selfless hug you give when you suspect someone may be strapped with a suicide vest. From the New Yorker's exhaustive account of the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound:


Two of bin Laden’s wives had placed themselves in front of him. Amal al-Fatah, bin Laden’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.

Read the whole piece for more insight into the mission and the SEALs that executed it (like how they had performed raids in Pakistani territory "on ten to twelve previous occasions").

Getting Bin Laden [New Yorker]