Monday, May 2, 2011

The raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was revealed first on Twitter.

The raid that killed Osama Bin Laden on the night of May 2nd, 2011 was revealed first on Twitter, the BBC reports on Monday 2nd May 2011.

An Information Technology consultant, living in Abbottabad, Pakistan unknowingly tweeted details of the US-led operation as it happened.

Sohaib Athar, who did not know that the world most wanted terrorist was living nearby in his neighbourhood, wrote that a helicopter was hovering overhead shortly before the assault began and said that it might not be a Pakistani aircraft.

He only became aware of the significance of his tweets after President Obama announced details of Bin Laden's death.

Mr Athar's first posting on the subject came at around 1am local time (9pm BST).

He wrote: "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)."

Soon after, he reported the sound of an explosion, now known to have been US forces blowing-up their damaged helicopter.

"A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S"

Throughout the raid, Mr Athar was drawing on information from friends in the local area who were also online.

"The few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani..."

"People are saying it was not a technical fault and it was shot down. I heard it CIRCLE 3-4 times above, sounded purposeful."

US officials stated that the raid took less than 40 minutes, but Mr Athar said there was still a military presence in the area two hours later.

"And now, a plane flying over Abbottabad..."

In his Twitter biography, Sohaib Athar describes himself as: "An IT consultant taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops."

However, his postings during and after the raid reveal a frustration that world events had caught-up with him.

"I guess Abbottabad is going to get as crowded as the Lahore that I left behind for some peace and quiet. *sigh*"

Mr Athar told the BBC's Nosheen Abbas in Pakistan that his tweets has led to a deluge of interview requests from media organisations around the world.

He also said that he was not surprised to be the only person writing about events as they happened.

"I've been tweeting for about 5, 6 years, and been tweeting about Abbottabad because no one really talks about it,

"In fact, not many people use Twitter here. Everyone uses Facebook," he said.

Twitter confirmation

Political aide and tweeter @keithurbahn worked out what was happening before the announcement Even before President Obama confirmed the death of Osama Bin Laden, informed tweeters were speculating online about the reason for a hastily-organised White House press conference.

Keith Urbahn, chief of staff to former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld wrote: "So I'm told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden."

Already this is being described as another huge day for the micro-blogging service.

"Twitter just had its CNN moment", as one American website put it, comparing this event with the first Gulf War in 1991, where millions suddenly woke up to the fact that cable news was the place to observe a war unfold in real-time.

Such is the power of this network that it has become the key resource for older media trying to stay ahead of events.

A journalist who does not use Twitter is now like one who abjures the mobile phone.

And maybe it's like a husband with no balls or Elton John without David Furnish or Rod Stewart without a blonde bombshell!!! hahaaa.. Thanks for reading.

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