Pentagon releases satellite images of Osama's compound

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Pentagon releases satellite images of Osama's compound
Abottabad, Pakistan:  Satellite pictures and a sketched diagram of Osama bin Laden's custom-made hideout in Abbottabad, Northern Pakistan, were released by the US Department of Defence on Monday, providing further detail of the compound where the al-Qaida leader had been hiding for years.

The elaborately fortified compound was the scene the US Navy Seals' assault on Friday, which ended in bin Laden's death.

The images show a large compound with a three story dwelling at its centre.

The south facing balcony of the house was shielded by a 7 feet high privacy wall, while the windows facing north were opaque.

Perimeter walls surrounding the compound ranged from 10 feet to 18 feet in height.

It had no phone or Internet running into the house.

The residents of the compound burned all the rubbish inside its perimeters as part of safety measures.

A US official said that intelligence analysis had concluded that the compound was built in 2005 at a probable cost of one (m) million US dollars to hide 'someone of significance'.

The images showed the site in 2004 before the compound was built and the compound in 2005 with a building at its centre.

Intelligence officials said that statements given by US detainees suggested that the al-Qaida leader had trusted one al-Qaida courier in particular and they believed he might be living with him in hiding.

Four years ago they learned the man's identity, which officials did not disclose, and then about two years later, they identified areas of Pakistan where he operated.

Last August, the man's residence was found, officials said.

By mid-February, intelligence from multiple sources was clear enough that US President Barrack Obama wanted to "pursue an aggressive course of action," a senior administration official said.

Over the next two and a half months, the president led five meetings of the National Security Council focused solely on whether bin Laden was in that compound and, if so, how to get him, the official said.

Obama made a decision to launch the operation on Friday, shortly before flying to Alabama to inspect tornado damage, and aides set to work on the details.

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