Man unknowingly liveblogs bin Laden operation

An IT consultant in Abbottabad unwittingly tweeted about a nearby raid

Topics: Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaida, Pakistan,

Man unknowingly liveblogs bin Laden operationMap locates Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S.-led raid(Credit: AP)

A computer programmer, startled by a helicopter clattering above his quiet Pakistani town in the early hours of the morning Monday, did what any social-media addict would do: he began sending messages to the social networking site Twitter.

With his tweets, 33-year-old Sohaib Athar, who moved to the sleepy town of Abbottabad to escape the big city, became in his own words “the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”

Soon the sole helicopter multiplied into several and gunfire and explosions rocked the air above the town, and Athar’s tweets quickly garnered 14,000 followers as he unwittingly described the U.S. operation to kill one of the world’s most wanted militants.

His first tweet was innocuous: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).”

The noise alarmed Athar, who had moved to the upscale area of Abbottabad to get away from city life after his wife and child were badly injured in a car accident in the sprawling city of Lahore, according to his blog in July.

Nestled in the mountains around 60 miles (95 kilometers) northeast of the capital, Abbottabad is a quiet, leafy town featuring a military academy, the barracks for three army regiments and even its own golf course.

As the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden unfolded, Athar “liveblogged” what he was hearing in real time, describing windows rattling as bombs exploded.

He questioned whose helicopters might be flying overhead. “The few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani,” he tweeted.

Athar then said one of the aircraft appeared to have been shot down. Two more helicopters rushed in, he reported.

Throughout the battle, he related the rumors swirling through town: it was a training accident. Somebody was killed. The aircraft might be a drone. The army was conducting door-to-door searches in the surrounding area. The sound of an airplane could be heard overhead.

Athar did not respond to media requests for comment — he explained in another tweet that a filter he set up to stop his e-mail box from flooding could be culling out requests for interviews.

Soon, however, the rumbling of international events far beyond the confines of this quiet upscale suburb began to dawn on Athar, and he realized what he might be witnessing.

You Might Also Like

“I think the helicopter crash in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the President Obama breaking news address are connected,” he tweeted.

Eight hours and about 35 tweets later, the confirmation came: “Osama Bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” Athar reported. “There goes the neighborhood.”

——————

On the web

http://www.reallyvirtual.com/

http://twitpic.com/4s8nfq

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Jodi Hilton

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 1

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL-- May 1, 2015--Team from Humane Society International doing assessments and rescue work in the Lalipur District outside Kathmandu where many houses collapsed and animals died during last week's earthquake.

    Jodi Hilton

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 2

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL-- May 1, 2015--Team from Humane Society International doing assessments and rescue work in the Lalipur District outside Kathmandu where many houses collapsed and animals died during last week's earthquake.

    Humane Society International

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 3

    Humane Society International’s Animal Rescue Team deployed to Kathmandu, Nepal on 30th April 2015 to offer emergency animal welfare aid following a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

    Jodi Hilton

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 4

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL-- May 1, 2015--Team from Humane Society International doing assessments and rescue work in the Lalipur District outside Kathmandu where many houses collapsed and animals died during last week's earthquake.

    Jodi Hilton

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 5

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL-- May 1, 2015--Crew from HSI doing assessments and rescue work in the Lalipur District where many houses collapsed and animals died during last week's earthquake.

    Society for Animal Welfare and Management and Animal Welfare Network Nepal

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 6

    Calf rescue in Thali, a village outside Kathmandu, Nepal following the earthquake. Photo taken 29 April 2015.

    Jodi Hilton

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 7

    Crew from HSI doing assessments and rescue work in the Lalipur District where many houses collapsed and animals died during last week's earthquake.

    Jodi Hilton

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 8

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL-- May 1, 2015--Crew from HSI doing assessments and rescue work in the Lalipur District where many houses collapsed and animals died during last week's earthquake.

    Jodi Hilton

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 9

    Rahul Sehgal, Asia director of the Humane Society International holds an orphaned baby goat in Kalitaar, an agricultural village outside Kathmandu that was severely damaged by the Nepal earthquake. Large scale damage and deaths of livestock across the country means recovery will be difficult for people who were already living below the poverty line.

    Jodi Hilton

    Nepal earthquake animal rescue

    Slide 10

    KATHMANDU, NEPAL-- May 1, 2015--Team from Humane Society International doing assessments and rescue work in the Lalipur District outside Kathmandu where many houses collapsed and animals died during last week's earthquake.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>