Abbottabad resident Tweets raid on bin Laden compound

AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 8: Undated file picture of Saudi dissident Ossama Bin Ladin in an undisclosed place inside Afghanistan. Ossama Bin Ladin speaks while siting in front of a bannar inscribed basic Islamic tenet in Afghanistan. The billionaire Bin Ladin, member of a family of wealthy Saudi construction tycoon, is blamed for two bomb blasts in his home country in 1995-96 that killed 24 US servicemen. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images) AFP

Even before U.S. special forces succeeded in their mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden earlier today, Twitter users were recording a rough outline of the events to come.

Sohaib Athar, who describes himself as a 30-ish independent software consultant "taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops," happened to be in Abbottabad, Pakistan, about 10 hours ago.

Athar heard the helicopters used during the raid. He shared updates live on Twitter, according to the microblogging service's timestamps. And he's likely to be a footnote in history as a result.

Sohaib Athar
Sohaib Athar
Sohaib Athar

President Obama announced bin Laden's demise this evening, saying the elusive al-Qaeda leader was killed in a firefight and the identity of his body had been confirmed. (See related CNET story.)

Here are some excerpts from the conversation that Athar and other Twitter users had over the last 10 hours:

https://twitter.com/ReallyVirtual/status/64780730286358528
Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event). about 10 hours ago via TweetDeck

https://twitter.com/ReallyVirtual/status/64783440226168832
A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S about 10 hours ago via TweetDeck

https://twitter.com/ReallyVirtual/status/64792407144796160
@m0hcin all silent after the blast, but a friend heard it 6 km away too... the helicopter is gone too. about 9 hours ago via TweetDeck in reply to m0hcin

https://twitter.com/m0hcin/status/64791032579108864
Just talked to family in Abbottabad, say they heard three blasts one after another, don't know what really happened. about 10 hours ago via web

https://twitter.com/ReallyVirtual/status/64793269908930560
@m0hcin the few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani... about 9 hours ago via TweetDeck in reply to m0hcin

https://twitter.com/m0hcin/status/64794837077065728
Seems something nasty happening in #Abbottabad, God save us. about 9 hours ago via web

https://twitter.com/ReallyVirtual/status/64796769418088448
Since taliban (probably) don't have helicpoters, and since they're saying it was not "ours", so must be a complicated situation #abbottabad about 9 hours ago via TweetDeck

https://twitter.com/ReallyVirtual/status/64798882332278785
The abbottabad helicopter/UFO was shot down near the Bilal Town area, and there's report of a flash. People saying it could be a drone. about 9 hours ago via TweetDeck

https://twitter.com/tahirakram/status/64797447821602816
@ReallyVirtual Damn. Unusual. Was it of Pakistan Army? about 9 hours ago via TweetDeck in reply to ReallyVirtual

https://twitter.com/ReallyVirtual/status/64800262354763776
@tahirakram very likely - but it was too noisy to be a spy craft, or, a very poor spy craft it was. about 9 hours ago via TweetDeck

https://twitter.com/ReallyVirtual/status/64892915167657984
@kursed Well, there were at least two copters last night, I heard one but a friend heard two, for 15-20 minutes. about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck in reply to kursed

https://twitter.com/naqvi/status/64883228590350336
i think the helicopter crash in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the President Obama breaking news address are connected. about 3 hours ago via web Retweeted by ReallyVirtual

https://twitter.com/ReallyVirtual/status/64892915167657984
Uh oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it. about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck

  • Declan McCullagh On Twitter»

    Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.

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