Slain Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by a bullet to the brain before Navy SEALs had even entered his bedroom in a Pakistan compound, a new book reveals.
New details have emerged of the daring 2011 raid which ended the terrorist leader's life in an eagerly-anticipated first-hand account written by one of the men involved in the covert mission.
Writing under the pseudoymn Mark Owen, the SEAL says they were stealthily climbing a narrow staircase in the Abbottabad compound when the team's point man saw a man's head emerge from a doorway.
"We were less than five steps from getting to the top [of the stairs] when I heard suppressed shots. BOP. BOP," Owen writes in "No Easy Day" according to the Huffington Post which obtained an advance copy. "I couldn't tell from my position if the rounds hit the target or not. The man disappeared into the dark room."
When the SEALs entered the room, they found Bin Laden dead on the floor and a woman crying over his body.
He was wearing a white sleeveless T-shirt, loose tan pants and a tan tunic and was unarmed.
"Blood and brains spilled out of the side of his skull," Owen writes, saying the most wanted man in America was twitching and convulsing.
Owen and another SEAL then pointed their lasers at Bin Laden's chest.
"[We] fired several rounds," he says in the book. "The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless."
Previous reports suggested Bin Laden was armed and had attempted to fight back in his final moments, but Owen describes the 9/11 mastermind as a coward.
"He hadn't even prepared a defense," he writes. "He had no intention of fighting. He asked his followers for decades to wear suicide vests or fly planes into buildings, but didn't even pick up his weapon. In all of my deployments, we routinely saw this phenomenon. The higher up the food chain the targeted individual was, the bigger a pussy he was."
Navy SEALs closely examined Bin Laden's lifeless face to ensure he was the man they were hunting, and also asked several women in the compound to identify him.
Inside Bin Laden's room the team found an AK-47 and a Makarov pistol, with empty chambers and the author disputes previous reports which painted the raid as a James Bond blockbuster with a 40-minute firefight and bullets flying through the air.
"The raid was being reported like a bad action movie," Owen writes. "At first, it was funny because it was so wrong."
He also says Bin Laden had no "time to look into our eyes," and they were not on a shoot to kill mission.
The 36-year-old SEAL said he was pleased President Obama gave the order to proceed but the team knew he would take credit for Bin Laden's death if the mission was successful.
"Although we applauded the decision-making in this case, there was no doubt in anybody's mind that he would take all the political credit for this too," Owen writes.