Controversially, they had learnt of his identity from interrogations of detainees in Guantanamo.
Armed with the mobile phone number, the US was able to track him to the compound in Abbottabad. High walls prevented anyone from seeing in and privacy screens on the main building's balconies blocked all sight lines.
I hope it's not the start of something nasty." On the other side of the world President Obama and his closest advisers had gathered in the White House situation room to monitor progress of the assault.They also left a group of three women and 13 children - two girls and 11 boys - bound with plastic ties.The US team was forced to abandon one of its helicopters after it was damaged in a hard landing at the compound site.It was mostly destroyed in an explosion set by the US forces as they departed.Publicly, the US authorities have given few details about the raid and some of these have changed since the news of Bin Laden's death was officially announced.It had no phone or internet connection and all rubbish was burnt inside the high walls rather than being collected as usual.Access to the site was through a tall green metal security gate which led into a passageway with high walls either side, and another security gate leading to an inner compound at the other end.The aircraft can also capture images shot at an angle.This has the advantage of not having to fly directly over its target.The CIA also employed a sophisticated stealth drone that could float high about the compound without detection by the Pakistani authorities.With its distinctive bat-winged shape, the RQ170 Sentinel is capable of flying undetected at high altitude taking photographs and sending real-time video.