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“...'Japan Earthquake' and 'accidents' that occurred March 11, 2011,
were deliberate acts of tectonic nuclear warfare...."
.........Leuren Moret an expert witness at the International Criminal Tribunal For Afghanistan At Tokyo.
Click on the below link for more on this subject
High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program HAARP
Saad Al-Hilli, 50, was ambushed with his family
on Wednesday during a family outing in the French Alps
Three adult members of a seemingly respectable family, each murdered with a single shot in the head.
seven-year-old girl left with life-threatening injuries and her younger
sister badly traumatised after somehow escaping alive from a
A cyclist who is believed to have witnessed the bloodbath mercilessly assassinated.
Such barbarity would be shocking in some of the world’s most lawless countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia...
for it to happen in a car park near the tranquil shores of Lake Annecy
in the French Alps makes the crime infinitely more difficult to
And, crucially, much more difficult to solve.
What better location for a professional hit than in a remote area, with few if any witnesses likely to see the atrocity, with quick road access to airports in three countries – France, Italy and Switzerland, and even further afield.
As French police launched an
extensive manhunt to find the killer or killers, investigators were
officially keeping an open mind about the motive for the crime and who
might have been behind it.
The ruthless efficiency with which the murders were carried out suggested strongly that Saad Al-Hilli, his wife Ikbal and the rest of his family were specific targets, and the cyclist killed because he saw too much.
Pictures of the murder scene – in an isolated forest car park, 2.5 miles from the nearest village – show how the BMW was hit with automatic fire before the victims were finished off at point-blank range.
Had Mr Al-Hilli and his family been targeted in the UK, police would probably have had access to CCTV footage and data from number-plate recognition cameras, in their hunt for the killer’s escape vehicle.
Scroll down for video
But in Chevaline there has never been any need for security cameras, another possible clue that the killer may have carefully researched the best place, in terms of escaping detection, to commit the crimes.
A quick look at a local map shows he could have been out of France within minutes of the murders on Wednesday, possibly boarding a plane from Geneva within two hours.
Or perhaps he elected to drive several hours across Europe. Several witnesses reported seeing a car speeding away from the scene near Albertville, in France’s Haute-Savoie region, close to the Italian and Swiss borders, around the time of the attack.
No arrests were made in the immediate aftermath of the attack, nor did police report the discovery of any weapon.
Bullet-ridden: Police gather evidence from the BMW estate where Saad Al-Hilli and his family was massacred by a suspected assassin
Delayed reaction: Several hours after police arrived on scene, Mr Al-Hilli's four-year-old daughter Zeena was found alive huddling under her mother's legs inside the car
Crime scene: French gendarme police escort the car involved in the shooting of the British family away from the area
15 spent, automatic pistol cartridges were found at the scene. ‘It was
clearly an act of extreme savagery and it was obvious that whoever did
this wanted to kill,’ said French prosecutor Eric Maillaud.
Mr Al-Hilli’s family were deliberately targeted, police will want to
establish how the killer knew where they were. Did he wait outside their
campsite before ambushing them in the countryside?
The Iraqi-born British businessman’s commercial activities and political affiliations in his homeland will also be key lines of inquiry.
The bodies being taken away from the scene in a private ambulance escorted by police
Tragedy: French police on guard near the site of the brutal slaying
London link: The home of Saad Al-Hilli in Claygate, Surrey
French police, whose track record in investigating the murders of
British nationals makes uncomfortable reading, would be foolish to rule
out other possible explanations.
Already there has been speculation that the attack may have been a case of mistaken identity linked to drugs.
theory is that shots could have been fired during a bungled armed
robbery, with the dead cyclist being a witness to the crime. Reports
suggest the same gang may have carried out previous attacks.
Another possibility is that the crimes were racially motivated, or that the gunman is mentally ill.
The French prosecutor described the carnage as being like something seen in a film.
In most crime movies, the killer is finally brought to justice. If this was a professional hit, it will be a serious challenge for the French police to live up to that script.
by Nicholas Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org
Earth is wrapped in a donut shaped magnetic field. Circular lines of flux continuously descend into the North Pole and emerge from the South Pole. The ionosphere, an electromagnetic-wave conductor, 100 kms above the earth, consists of a layer of electrically charged particles acting as a shield from solar winds. Natural waves are related to the electrical activity in the atmosphere and are thought to be caused by multiple lightning storms. Collectively, these waves are called ‘The Schumann Resonance´, the current strongest at 7.8 Hz. These are quasi-standing extremely low frequency (ELF) waves that naturally exist in the earth´s ‘electromagnetic´ cavity, the space between the ground and the ionosphere. These ‘earth brainwaves´ are identical to the spectrum of our brainwaves.
(1 hertz = 1 cycle per second, 1 Khz = 1000, 1 Mhz =1 million. A 1 Hertz wave is 186,000 miles long, 10 Hz is 18,600 miles. Radio-waves move at the speed of light.)
The Creator designed living beings to resonate to this natural frequency pulsation in order to evolve harmoniously. The ionosphere is being manipulated by US govt. scientists using an Alaskan transmitter called HAARP, (High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) which sends focused radiated power to heat up sections of the ionosphere, which bounces power down again. ELF waves from HAARP when targeted on areas can weather-engineer and create mood changes affecting millions. The intended wattage is 1,700 billion watts of power. A former govt. insider deduced they want to flip the world upside down. 64 elements in the ground modulate, with variation, the geomagnetic waves naturally coming from the ground.
The ‘earth´s natural brain rhythm´ above is balanced with these. These are the same minerals as the red blood corpuscles. There is a relation between the blood and geomagnetic waves. An imbalance between Schumann and geomagnetic waves disrupts biorhythms. These natural geomagnetic waves are being replaced by artificially created very low frequency (VLF) ground waves coming from GWEN Towers.
GWEN (Ground Wave Emergency Network) transmitters placed 200 miles apart across the USA allow specific frequencies to be tailored to the geomagnetic-field strength in each area, allowing the magnetic field to be altered. They operate in the VLF range, with transmissions between VLF 150 and 175 KHz. They also emit UHF waves of 225 - 400 MHz. The VLF signals travel by waves that hug the ground rather than radiating into the atmosphere. A GWEN station transmits circularly up to 300 miles, the signal dropping off sharply with distance. The entire GWEN system consists of, (depending on source of data), from 58 to an intended 300 transmitters spread across the USA, each with a tower 299-500 ft high. 300 ft copper wires in spoke like fashion fan out from the base of the system underground, interacting with the earth like a thin shelled conductor, radiating radio wave energy for very long distances through the ground. USA bathes in this magnetic field which rises to 500 ft, even going down to basements, so everyone is mind-controlled. The whole artificial ground-wave spreads out over USA like a web. It is easier to mind-control and hypnotize people who are bathed in an artificial electromagnetic-wave. (Covering the entire floor with aluminum and buying a CET cylinder from Nordic Living Water Systems helps.) GWEN transmitters have many different functions including controlling the weather, mind, behavior and mood control.
These work in conjunction with HAARP and the Russian Woodpecker transmitter, similar to HAARP. The Russians openly market a small version of their weather-engineering system called Elate, which can fine-tune weather patterns over a 200 mile area and have the same range as the GWEN unit. One operates at Moscow airport. The GWEN Towers shoot enormous bursts of energy into the atmosphere in conjuction with HAARP. The website www.cuttingedge.org wrote an expose of how the major floods of the Mid-West USA occurred in 1993.
Invisible enormous rivers of water, consisting of vapors that flow, move towards the poles in the lower atmosphere. They rival the flow of the Amazon River and are 420 to 480 miles wide and up to 4,800 miles long. They are 1.9 miles above the earth and have volumes of 340 lbs of water per second. There are 5 atmospheric rivers in each Hemisphere. A massive flood can be created by damming up one of these massive vapor rivers, causing huge amounts of rainfall to be dumped.
The GWEN Towers positioned along the areas north of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers were turned on for 40 days and 40 nights, probably mocking the Flood of Genesis. (This was in conjunction with HAARP, that creates a river of electricity flowing thousands of miles through the sky and down to the polar ice-cap, manipulating the jet-stream , like The Woodpecker.) These rivers flooded, causing agricultural losses of $12-15 billion. HAARP produces earthquakes by focusing on the fault lines. GWEN Towers are on the fault lines and volcanic areas of the Pacific Northeast.
Julie McMahonBritish expatriate in Haute SavoieAnnecy is a popular holiday destinationYou wouldn't have any hesitation letting your kids sleep out there”
Emma CitronConsultant clinical psychologist
"..It will take years and years of trained professionals helping her...”
The older brother of the British father murdered in the Alps will be questioned today by French police about a possible family feud over a will.
Zaid Al-Hilli was expected to be asked about an alleged ‘inheritance dispute’ and ongoing quarrel after four detectives flew in from France to find out what lay behind Wednesday’s bloodbath.
But the 53-year-old businessman is not under arrest, is being treated as a witness and has already denied any involvement in the slaughter of his family to officers in Britain.
Scroll down for video
Victim: Saad Al-Hilli, 50, was ambushed with his family on Wednesday during a family caravanning trip. A family friend (right) who knew Mr Al-Hilli from the age of 15 brings flowers to the family home in Claygate, Surrey, this afternoon
Devastated: Two women, who identified themselves as family friends cry as they stand at the front gate of the Al-Hilli home
He walked into a police station near his Surrey home to reject any suggestions of a feud with his brother, Saad.
Today, three French detectives are expected to put their questions to Zaid Al-Hilli via Surrey police officers. They also plan to search his home, and his dead brother’s house.
Public prosecutor Eric Maillaud said yesterday that there had been an ‘inheritance dispute’ over the estate of their late father Kadhim, who died about a year ago.
Mr Maillaud said: ‘It seems that there was a dispute between the two brothers about money. This seems to be credible information coming from the British police.
‘The brother will have to be questioned at length. Every lead will be meticulously followed. What is important is for us to listen to this brother procedurally.’
He said Saad Al-Hilli’s life would be examined in detail. ‘His life, his job – I heard he was the owner of three companies – all of that is the sort of thing that we have to find out about in England,’ he said.
Properties in France, Switzerland, Spain and Iraq were said to be at the heart of the ongoing quarrel between Saad Al-Hilli and his brother Zaid.
The brothers used to run a technical design company called Shtech together, but two years ago Zaid was replaced as company secretary by Saad’s wife Iqbal.
Around the same time, Zaid moved out of the £1million detached house in upmarket Claygate, Surrey, where his brother and family lived, according to neighbours. Zaid owns a £290,000 semi-detached house in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, but is believed to be living in Chessington, which is also near Claygate.
At a press conference yesterday, Mr Maillaud said Zaid Al-Hilli had ‘spontaneously presented himself’ to Surrey police on Thursday seeking information after hearing about the killings on the news.
He went back again yesterday morning after hearing about the brotherly ‘conflict’ on the news, said Mr Maillaud, adding: ‘He said no, there was no conflict, there was no dispute with his brother.’
He said Zaid was a ‘free man’ but would be interviewed as a ‘key witness’ as detectives try to solve the riddle of the murders.
Other inquiries will focus on Saad Al-Hilli’s technical work and his links to Iraq, where his family fled Saddam Hussein’s regime in the 1970s. Mr Al-Hilli was known to the British intelligence services, who have taken a keen interest in the investigation.
A finger points to a blood-spattered rock found by the murder scene today
The shocking triple murder has made the headlines around the world
Secluded: A journalist looks at the spot where the Al-Hilli family car was found with three bodies, and a cowering four-year-old girl, inside
Country lane: Reporters walk towards the tiny dirt lay-by where the massacre took place
Taped-off: Detectives prepare to remove the family car from the murder scene scene yesterday
Tribute: A woman hands over flowers and a candle to police at the Al-Hilli family home in Claygate, Surrey, today
Last night Zaid Al-Hilli’s brother-in-law, Damien O’Reilly, said: ‘There’s no way he is involved.’
Mr O’Reilly, 41, whose sister Geraldine was married to Zaid until her death from ovarian cancer, said: ‘Zaid is the last person who could be behind this.
‘He’s a very decent bloke. When my sister was dying from cancer he was hugely supportive and caring. He was devastated by her death and is still coming to terms with it.’
Zaid and Geraldine had one child, Sean O’Reilly-Hilli, 28, a plumber who lives in the Walton-on-Thames house.
Mr Maillaud said up to three
detectives would be arriving in London this morning, where they will
liaise with Scotland Yard officers.
One is arriving today to deal with any diplomatic problems
which might arise.
Mr Maillaud said that each corpse was found with at least three bullets, and 'at least one bullet to the head'.
The prosecutor said he believed that more than one murderer was involved in the atrocity.
Speaking before a press briefing in Annecy, Mr Maillaud said the 'case looks more and more like an ambush' and that more than one gunman was likely to have been involved.
Mr Maillaud said: 'It seems humanly difficult that so many shots could
be fired by one man. Instinct tells us there was more than one suspect.'
He confirmed that a green 4x4 and a motorbike were the only two vehicles seen by the unnamed British cyclist who reported the murders.
The prosecutor also revealed that Mr Al-Hilli's four-year-old daughter Zeena, who survived by hiding under her mother, had spoken to police about the attack, describing what Mr Maillaud said was the 'fury' and 'terror' of a massacre during which 25 bullets were fired at the victims.
Iraqi-born Mr Al-Hilli, 50, was gunned down in his car alongside his dentist wife Iqbal, and her 77-year-old mother.
Mr Al-Hilli and one of the women were shot in the head along with a French cyclist who apparently stumbled across the attack.
The couple's children, Zeena and her sister Zainab, seven, are apparently the only witnesses to the shootings on an isolated road and are now under police protection.
Julian Stedman, Mr Al-Hilli's accountant, today said that his client had removed his brother Zaid from the company they set up
But Zeena had told police she was with her mother and father when the attack happened but she did not see anything because she 'dived under her mother's legs' when the shooting began.
Her elder sister is in a medically induced coma to aid her recovery as painlessly as possible and give her body time to heal.
Mr Maillaud said the nearest CCTV cameras to the scene of the crime were 30kms away.
Instructing judges Michel Mollin and Christine de Curraize are now leading the enquiry into the crime.
The chief executive of a company Mr Al-Hilli worked for paid tribute to him this afternoon.
Dr Matt Perkins, from Surrey
Satellite Technology in Guildford, said he was deeply shocked and
saddened at the death of the mechanical design engineer, who had worked
as a contractor for the company since November 2010.
He said: 'Saad's colleagues will remember him as an experienced and committed engineer who worked as part of a tightly knit team.
'He was a personal friend to many of our staff here. Saad will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this very difficult and traumatic time.
'We are a close family at SSTL and our staff are understandably very upset by this event.'
Eric Maillaud, the prosecutor leading the investigation into the bloodbath, had earlier said that 'evidence from Britain' pointed towards the brothers being involved in 'financial problems'.
'It seems that there was a dispute between the two brothers about money,' said Mr Maillaud.
Saad Al-Hilli's accountant Julian Stedman also revealed that Zaid had been replaced as secretary of Saad's company SH Tech roughly two years ago by his brother's wife Ikbal, who was also executed.
Zaid was replaced around February last year, around the same time that friends claim that he moved out of the families £1million family home in Claygate, Surrey.
Mr Stedman said: 'Through Stedman and Co we have been acting for Saad since 2004.
'His brother was company secretary which is a purely nominal role and Ikbal replaced him as company secretary, it must have been a couple of years ago.
'He never mentioned anything about a family feud.'
Neighbourhood in shock: Police officers stand guard outside the Al-Hilli family home in Claygate today
Zaid Al-Hilli's home in Kingston, Surrey. He visited his nearest police station and 'presented himself spontaneously' to officers 'as a matter of course' after learning of his brother's murder
Bullet-ridden: Police gather evidence from the BMW estate where Mr Al-Hilli and his family were massacred
Delayed reaction: Several hours after police arrived on scene, Mr Al-Hilli's four-year-old daughter Zeena was found alive huddling under her mother's legs inside the car
Property in France, Switzerland, Spain and Iraq were said to be at the centre of an alleged on-going quarrel between Mr Al-Hilli and his brother, who lives with his family in Kingston-upon-Thames.
Sylvie Lecoeur said that she witnessed a speeding car near the French Alpine murder scene
It came as French police today said they are looking for a 'man in a
black shirt' driving a Peugeot 4x4 seen speeding away from the
scene of the massacre.
The unidentified British cyclist who discovered the dead bodies on the edge of the village of Chevaline shortly before 4pm has told detectives he saw a 'green 4x4' and motorbike speeding towards the murder scene before his arrival.
A detective told French channel M6: 'He has a keen sense of observation. This could help us greatly.'
This is the first time that the possibility of an assassin using a motorbike has been raised.
A young woman who was also in the area has told police that she saw a 'white Peugeot 206 or 306' a few minutes later, along the same road and heading towards the village of Horses.
She said it was being driven extremely fast by 'a man in a black shirt' who had to swerve suddenly to avoid hitting her own car.
Peugeot makes 4x4s in both the 206 and 306 range, leading to the possibility that both witnesses saw the same car, despite the difference in colour.
More details have emerged suggesting that the Al-Hillis may have been targeted by more than one professional assassin.
Detectives revealed that three of the four murder victims were hit by two bullets each - while a cyclist who is thought to have stumbled across the scene of the carnage was hit five times.
The fact that intense gunfire was heard for less than 30 seconds - and it was so brutally effective - strengthens the theory of experienced hit men being responsible.
Mr Al-Hilli, 50, was initially shot once in the forehead as he sat at the wheel of the BMW estate car he had used to drive his family to a caravan holiday to Lake Annecy, in eastern France.
On the move: French police escort the car in which the British family was murdered away from the area
Sealed off: A cyclist speaks to police blocking access to the road to La Combe d'Ire in Chevaline today
Hunt for clues: French police inspect a drain under the road to the murder scene at Cheverlaine near Annecy
Then a second 'coup de grace' bullet was apparently used to make sure that Mr Al-Hilli was indeed dead.
This is the classic modus operandi of gunmen the world over who are contracted to kill people, whether working for criminal gangs, terrorist groups, or security services.
Mr Al-Hilli, his wife Ikbal, and her 77-year-old mother were shot twice through the car's windows, with not a single bullet wasted.
Sylvain Mollier, a 45-year-old father-of-three who arrived at the scene by bike, is likely to have disturbed the multiple killings, and thus would have made a more difficult target.
An investigating source confirmed to French media that all those in the car 'received two bullets each', while Mr Mollier 'was hit five times'.
The Al-Hilli's seven-year-old daughter, Zainab, suffered a fractured skull and a bullet in the shoulder.
Her four-year-old sister, Zeena, was the only member of the family to escape unscathed after hiding underneath her mother's legs.
It was to be a full eight hours before police eventually found her following the murders, which took place just before 4pm on Wednesday, suggesting that the gunmen also had no idea that she was there.
A postmortem on the bodies is expected to take place later today.
Forensic and ballistic experts are examining the 15 bullet casings found at the scene. They hope to find out whether there was more than one weapon being fired - and therefore if there was more than one killer - and maybe even identify DNA samples.
Last night, a family friend, Zaid
Alabdi, 48, said there was a row centred around money and properties in
the UK, Spain and France following the death of Mr Al-Hilli's father a
He said: 'They're a lovely family who
worked hard and had no enemies. This may well not be relevant but it is
the only problem I can think of in their lives.'
The Al-Hilli family lived in a £1million home in Claygate, Surrey.
London link: Police officers stand guard outside the Al-Hilli family home in Claygate this morning
'Bright kid': Mr Al Hilli was company secretary at Swindon-based aerial photography company, AMS 1087, which is linked to this accountancy business
Massive investigation: French police question local residents close to the spot where the massacre happened
One neighbour, Jack Saltman, fuelled
the mystery by saying: 'I know one little thing which I am not prepared
to speak about at the moment. He told me about a problem he had. I have
told the police what I know.'
And Julian Stedman, Mr Al-Hilli's
accountant, said: 'They were shot through the head so that sounds like a
professional killing, which is really very worrying.
'A casual killer would not do that. The reason for that – I haven't a clue.'
The tragedy being triggered by a family feud is just one theory that investigators in France and Britain are pursuing.
Forensic experts said the first job for police who arrived at the crime scene should have been to check for survivors.
it could be that the first officers called to the rural beauty spot in
the French countryside simply 'panicked' when confronted with the
In the UK, a
doctor would be called to certify death - doing so, in this instance,
could have alerted officers that the child was alive amidst the carnage
in the car.
professor of forensic science at the University of Strathclyde, said the
first responsibility for officers confronted with such a crime scene is
to check the victims for signs of life.
It has been known for victims even with gunshot wounds to the head to live for hours and survive if they get emergency treatment.
He said: 'The overriding responsibility to the first responder at a crime scene, in the UK, would be to ensure that all individuals present are accounted for, their health and welfare, with an initial but thorough look at the crime scene.'
Prof Fraser said of such multiple death crimes: 'It's a pretty horrible scene - not for the faint-hearted.'
Forensic experts say it is a fiction to think murder scenes are preserved in pristine condition until they are examined by crime scene investigators.
Only after police have carried out their duty to preserve life and certify death do they 'freeze the scene'.
It also today emerged that Mr Al-Hilli was known to the intelligence services. He was born in Iraq and was put under Special Branch surveillance during the second Gulf War.
Neighbour Philip Murphy said of the £1million property in Claygate: 'It was a family house, it was an extended family house and he took it over when his mother died ten years ago.
'I think his brother moved the last of his stuff out 18 months ago.
'Their father had been living in Spain as it is warmer there but then he came back for a little while and was living in the bedroom the brother had been living in so he couldn't have been there then.
'Then the father went back to Spain and died about a year ago.'
Talking of Mr Al-Hilli's links to the Middle-East, he added: 'I know he went out to Baghdad a couple of years ago and sought out his old family home as he still had the deeds, but he wasn't very impressed. It was being used as a barracks by the military I think.
'Eventually he sold it on for pennies as it was worthless.
'He wasn't politically active in any way, he had opinions on things, but he was a moderate Muslim and a moderate socialist.'
With both children under armed guard in hospital, pictures of the extraordinary scene in the forest near Lake Annecy emerged showing the bullet-riddled BMW estate car. Spent cartridges littered the area around it.
Mr Al-Hilli earned up to £28 an hour as a freelance engineer and his CV reveals he worked on projects including designing a 'plasma generator' for a company called Surrey NanoSystems Ltd.
Before that he helped design a satellite for Surrey Satellite Technology, based in Guildford, and ten years ago he worked for another company engineering parts for the 'aircraft, military and medical industries'.
It is understood that Mr Al-Hilli has been known to British intelligence officials for around 20 years.
In 2003, during the U.S. and British
invasion of Iraq, officers working with the intelligence services
mounted a surveillance operation on his home for several weeks, a
neighbour who hosted them told the Mail.
The internet is awash with speculation – impossible to verify – that Mr Al-Hilli may have been working in some capacity in the spy world. He arrived in Britain in the late 1970s and was educated to degree level.
Intelligence officers from the British Embassy in Paris are said to have been at the scene of the murder hours after it happened at 4pm (3pm UK time) on Wednesday.
They were tipped off by contacts in
the French Interior Ministry as soon as the identity of the car's owner
Police inspect Le Solitaire du Lac campsite at Saint-Jorioz, where the murdered family were staying
Sealed off: Forensic experts have been examining the caravan for any clue into the killings
Sir Peter Ricketts, the British ambassador to France, this morning said the elder girl was still 'seriously ill' but in a stable condition in hospital.
He said both sisters would be looked after by British consular staff until members of their family could be brought to France.
Sir Peter said: 'We're all determined to get to the bottom of this as soon as we can.
'Everybody shares the same determination that the perpetrators of this awful crime are brought to justice as soon as possible.
is particularly violent and brutal, but also has this heart-rending
dimension of the two small girls. It's a unique case in my experience.'
Last night David Cameron described the deaths as 'terrible', adding: 'I have spoken to the British Ambassador in France and consular staff are working very hard so that we do everything we can... and to find out what happened in this very tragic case.
'Obviously the faster we can get to the bottom of what happened, the better.'
French President Francois Hollande pledged that the authorities would do their 'utmost to find the perpetrators'.
French police are facing growing incredulity that four-year-old Zeena was left in the car with the corpses of her family for eight hours, but justified it by saying they did not want to disturb the crime scene.
Public prosecutor Eric Maillaud said she was 'terrorised, immobile, in the midst of the bodies'.
He said: 'We discovered the little girl that nobody had seen, because she hadn't moved, completely in shock and completely frozen.'
He said the girl's older sister – beaten three times over the head – 'seems to be pulling through', though she has a fractured skull.
He described the murders as an 'act of gross savagery'.
A British cyclist who had been in the RAF stumbled upon the scene after originally being overtaken by Mr Mollier a few minutes earlier.
The first thing the cyclist saw was the bloodied figure of Zainab stumbling about in the road next to the BMW, which still had the engine running.
Police said the motive for the attack remained a mystery but revealed there were signs of a vehicle braking at the scene.
Investigators are waiting for the green light from medical staff at Grenoble University Hospital to talk to Zainab.
Asked again today whether he thought it was a professional killing, Mr Maillaud would only say: 'They were people who certainly wanted to kill people and they were not scared of taking a life.'
He refused to identify the weapon used, arguing that the police did not want to reveal everything they know to the killers.
When police eventually prised open the rear door of the BMW estate, four-year-old Zeena Al-Hilli was 'frozen stiff with terror' and cowering under her dead mother's skirt.
Her first words as she was led away from the car were: 'Where is Mummy? I want my Mummy!'
But after that instinctive outburst, it was difficult to coax any more words from a child who by this time 'could not tell the difference between the good guys and bad guys'.
Sombre: One camper said the atmosphere at the site was 'heavy, nobody is speaking'
Reported missing: The family were believed to have been staying at this campsite in Saint Jorioz
Last night there was growing incredulity that a small child had been left inside the bloodbath of a car for an incredible eight hours until midnight on Wednesday.
For most of that time, French police were actually standing yards away but had simply assumed everyone in the car was dead.
It was only when they interviewed fellow holidaymakers at the campsite where the family were staying that police realised they should have been looking for two girls after all. They then found that Zeena, too young to understand what had been going on, had pitifully clung to her mother's body all evening.
Her father and grandmother were also dead in the car while her elder sister Zainab had already been airlifted to hospital to save her life. But after all the 'noises and shouting' – her words to describe the moment a hitman slaughtered her family – traumatised Zeena had stayed completely silent, daring not move.
Zeena and seven-year-old Zainab – who is thought to have been pistol-whipped in the attack – are the only survivors of the bloodbath. In a hail of gunfire, the three adults were summarily executed along with a passing cyclist with precision shots to their foreheads.
After the alarm was raised by another cyclist, police were on the scene within minutes, and found seriously-injured Zainab bleeding near the car. She was airlifted to hospital in Grenoble for life-saving surgery on her fractured skull.
Rural region: A herd of cows this morning walks past the vehicles owned by the world's media that are parked on the side of the road near the shooting scene
Killed: Police believe the cyclist was shot dead when he stumbled on the scene of mass murder
Giving more details of the murders yesterday, French officials described the moment her little sister was finally rescued hours later.
Public prosecutor Eric Millaud said: 'When our detectives went into the car, they discovered a little girl, who was frozen stiff and uninjured.
'She had stayed beside her mother's body for almost eight hours, and had not moved during all this time.
'She spoke a little in English, saying she had heard noises and shouting, but did not say any more. She is only four years old. She was taken away and put under protection
'She could not tell the difference between the good guys and bad guys.'
Lieutenant-Colonel Benoit Vinnemann justified the police's extraordinary failure to find Zeena sooner, saying that they had not wanted to disrupt the crime scene.
They feared vital evidence would be lost if they examined the car before forensic experts arrived from Paris.
Because there was only one child seat fitted in the BMW 5-series estate, they wrongly assumed Zainab had been the only youngster in the car.
Local prosecutor Eric Maillaud meets the press on the road leading to the scene - he today confirmed British police will question Mr Al-Milli's brother
Gun control has shot to the top of the political agenda in France in recent years because of massive influx of weapons from Eastern Europe.
Largely un-policed border crossings with countries like Italy have seen thousands of guns pouring into major cities over the past few decades from countries like Serbia and the Ukraine.
This has led to a huge increase in the number of criminals brandishing weapons, especially drugs gangs and ones linked to the Italian and Russian mafia.
Officially two million members of the French population, including hunters and sportsmen, are allowed guns, but they are strictly licensed.
But in 2010 a total of 2710 guns were seized by police – representing a 79 per cent increase on 2009.
A parliamentary commission last year concluded that the fall of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Balkans’ Wars, in the 1990s had let to a glut of weapons, made of which had made their way to the west.
On March 6, just five days before Merah committed his first murder, a bill enforcing tougher penalties for those caught selling guns illegally became law. It means that anyone now found guilty of gun trafficking can get up to seven years in prison, and a fine equivalent to £75,000.
There was outrage earlier this year when Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old French Algerian, went on shooting rampage around the south west city of Toulouse which left seven dead.
Despite having known links with terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaeda, Merah had managed to easily get hold of an Uzi submachine gun, a Colt Python pistol, a shotgun, and three .45-caliber pistols.
All are thought to have been bought for a few hundred euros each on France’s black weapons market. The current price for a Kalashnikov in the crime-ridden Mediterranean city of Marseille is around £500.
Claude Bodin, a conservative MP who co-authored the bill, said it aimed to ‘give the judiciary the resources to punish heavily all those who own guns illegally and use them.’
The Merah killings, and ones like the slaughter which has taken place in the Alps this week, will now lead for calls for even greater
At one stage a helicopter equipped with thermal cameras flew over the BMW, but failed to detect the small survivor.
This is thought to be because she was hidden under her mother's body, which would still have been emitting some heat.
In fact, the penny dropped only when a fellow holidaymaker at the lakeside Le Solitaire du Lac campsite told police the family had two children.
Lt-Col Vinnemann said: 'Our role was to preserve the crime scene. To search the car thoroughly would have to lead to the loss of fundamental ballistic evidence.'
He said that when the officers realised their mistake, three detectives were helicoptered to the scene with others following in a car.
They arrived around midnight, and 'within ten minutes they had found the second young girl', he said. 'The girl was found under her mother's skirt in amongst travel bags. She was glad to see someone. She immediately asked where her family was. The officers spoke to her in English.
'She is now being cared for in
hospital. Physically, she is doing very well.'
Officers are now desperately hoping Zeena and Zainab will be able to tell them what happened.
Yesterday tourists at the campsite where the family were staying spoke of their shock at what happened.
Dutch woman Sandy Rombout, 39, said the Al-Hillis had arrived at the site on the shores of Lake Annecy at around 4pm on Monday in their dark-red BMW, which had a mountain bike on a roof rack.
'They had a small caravan and pitched a large tent to one side and a second tent at the back,' she said.
'They seemed like a normal nice family. The kids were playing outside the caravan and the dad came out and was showing the younger one how to ride her bike.
'They were very friendly and said hello to people. We saw them sitting in their tent and also having a barbecue outside at night.'
Another Dutch visitor said the family seemed to have problems with their car because every day he saw the father pumping air into the right-hand rear tyre of the BMW.
He said the grandmother had been picking fallen apples and giving them to the children. 'They were very friendly and the children played with the other kids in the play area. I heard them speaking English outside the caravan but they also spoke what I thought was Arabic inside.'
By Nick Fagge
An RAF veteran and keen cyclist almost certainly saved the life of seven-year-old Zainab in the moments after the forest murders.
The Briton was following a popular cycling route around the lake and into the surrounding countryside when he came across the horrific scenes near the village of Chevaline.
unidentified man, who also provided police with vital evidence of
vehicles leaving the scene, was described as a hero. Prosecutor Eric
Maillaud said: 'He should be congratulated on his swift actions.'
Tourist destination: Lake Annecy in France's Haute-Savoie region is a magnet for British holidaymakers
The cyclist, who has a holiday home in the area, noticed the British-registered BMW estate in the forest car park and went to investigate.
He discovered the engine was running
before he spotted a girl near the front of the vehicle fall to the
ground. He immediately put her in the recovery position and called the
emergency services from his mobile phone at 3.48pm on Wednesday.
But he grasped the full extent of the horror only after he smashed the driver's side window to reach in and turn off the engine.
This was when he saw the bodies – the man at the steering wheel and two women in the back – two shot in the face. Then he saw a cyclist slumped on the ground near his bike, also shot dead.
This same man had overtaken him only moments earlier on his bike ride.
Lt Col Benoit Vinnemann of the Chambery gendarmes, said: 'The main witness, a cyclist who discovered the grisly scene, said he was overtaken by another cyclist on the climb that leads to the parking lot where the shooting took place.
'Arriving there, he found the cyclist
on the ground with gunshot wounds near a car. In the vehicle, a man and
two women, has also been shot.
'On the other side of the car, a
child of six-to-eight years old was alive. He placed her in the recovery position
until help arrived. She had been very badly beaten.'
Idyllic: The attack took place close to Doussard, which is hugely popular with British tourists during the summer months
Lt-Col Vinnemann said that the Briton had seen 'various cars leaving the scene including a 4x4'.
Maillaud said the ordeal of what the RAF man had witnessed had left him
in 'a great deal of shock'.
Peter Ricketts, the British Ambassador to France, said: 'He appears to have been extremely professional. If he needs any support we are here to help.'
The murdered French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, 45, was a father-of-three from nearby Ugine. He was on paternity leave from his job at a company producing stainless steel products.
His wife alerted police when he
failed to return home from his bike ride. Prosecutor Maillaud said: 'It
would appear he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.'
Zainab and her four-year-old sister Zeena were yesterday under armed guard at Grenoble University Hospital.
Following the attack, in which Zainab
is believed to have been pistol-whipped, doctors induced a coma but she
is believed to be out of danger and her condition has stabilised. Zeena
is receiving psychiatric care.
Chilling echo: Rachel Nickell, who was brutally murdered on Wimbledon Common
The ordeal of four-year-old Zeena
Al-Hilli has chilling echoes of the Rachel Nickell murder, when her son
was left clinging to her body.
Alex Hanscombe was a month short of his third birthday when Miss Nickell was killed in front of him on Wimbledon Common in 1992.
The little boy, covered in blood, was found by a passer-by clinging to her, crying: 'Get up, mummy.'
Nickell, 23, was stabbed 49 times and sexually assaulted by paranoid
schizophrenic and serial rapist Robert Napper as she walked with Alex
and their dog, Molly.
In an interview in the Daily Mail last year Alex, 23, said: 'You don't remember everything from when you are small, but you remember the big things – those that can change your life.
clearly remember walking in the park with my mother and Molly and being
pushed over by a man, who then attacked my mother. I knew something bad
'I saw the knife in his hand and when I saw her lying on the ground covered in blood, I realised the consequences of that act. I wasn't quite three but, even so, I knew my mother was never coming back.'
father Andre took his son to France, then on to Spain, to escape the
'goldfish bowl' of public attention. He credits his father with giving
him the security and protection he needed as he struggled to adapt to
the loss of his mother.
said: 'I have never been back to Wimbledon Common and I don't visit my
mother's grave. If you are living in the past or the future it means you
are not living in the moment.'
Alex, a talented guitarist who studied at music school, 'forgave' his mother's killer even before he knew who he was. 'Until you forgive, you can never move on with your life,' he said.
don't feel damaged by what happened. I had my mum for the first few
years of my life – the most important ones – and being angry or upset
isn't the way to go.'
British police were said to have spent several weeks tracking the movements of Saad Al-Hilli at the start of the last Gulf War
Stationed on a driveway just yards from their target's £1million home, British police were said to have spent several weeks tracking the movements of Saad Al-Hilli at the start of the last Gulf War.
Officers thought to be from Special Branch maintained constant surveillance on the aeronautical engineer and his family, regularly following Mr Al-Hilli – who fled Iraq as a boy – and his brother whenever they drove off.
Last night Philip Murphy, a neighbour in the wealthy village of Claygate, Surrey, recalled how police asked if they could use his driveway to spy on the massacre victims' mock-Tudor house.
The retired finance director said: 'I watched them from the window and they were watching Mr Al-Hilli and his brother.
'I thought they were from Special Branch. They would sit there all day in their parked car just looking at the house.
'When Mr Al-Hilli came out and drove off, they would follow him. It was all very odd. I never told the family they were being watched.'
The surveillance happened as the invasion of Iraq by US and British forces began in March 2003.
Any operation on the family would almost certainly have been backed up by bugging devices within their detached home.
Last night it remained unclear why a surveillance team would be sent to watch a man who, on the outside at least, was a respected engineer.
The home of murdered aeronautical engineer Saad Al Hilli, in Claygate, Surrey, was under police guard yesterday
Mr Al-Hilli, 50, a keen cyclist and badminton player, worked on a freelance basis for a satellite and aerospace technology company in Guildford.
He also owned a computer design company called SHTECH Ltd, which was formed in 2001, and was the company secretary for a Wiltshire-based aerial photography company in Swindon.
The dead man's apparent family links to Saddam Hussein's ruling Ba'ath party in Iraq may be of significance.
A close friend told how Mr Al-Hilli's father Kadhim, a former factory owner, and mother Fasiha fled Baghdad in the late 1970s. The friend told how Mr Al-Hilli's father had fallen out with the Ba'ath party and was forced to flee the country.
It was during this time that Saddam Hussein became powerful in Iraq before becoming its leader in 1979. Mr Al-Hilli came to Britain as a teenager and was educated at Pimlico comprehensive school in central London where he took O- and A-levels, specialising in maths, physics and technical drawing.
Last night Philip Murphy, a neighbour in the wealthy village recalled how police asked if they could use his driveway to spy on the massacre victims' mock-Tudor house
He later took a degree in mechanical engineering and a computer qualification. His CV reveals that he was comfortable with using several software packages and had a string of jobs in the engineering field for the past 20 years. He became a British citizen in 2002.
Yesterday Jack Saltman, another neighbour, said Mr Al-Hilli had told how he was grappling with a 'personal problem' on August 29, the day the family left for France.
'He told me something about a problem he had,' Mr Saltman said. 'I told the police that I knew what this problem was but I still haven't been able to speak to them about it.
'I've known about it for several months now. I knew he had family in Iraq. He did say he was worried about their safety. He came around to see me the night before he went and asked me to keep an eye on the house. He wasn't particularly stressed. He was looking forward to taking the kids to France again.'
Mr Saltman declined to reveal the nature of the 'personal problem'.
Other neighbours in Claygate described Mr Al-Hilli as a devoted family man who 'had no enemies'.
George Aicolina said: 'This doesn't add up. He's no Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I very much doubt the Establishment would want to get rid of him.
It remains unclear why a surveillance team would be sent to watch a man who, on the outside at least, was a respected engineer
'Every time I had a problem, I would go to him. He was a very clued-up person and a precise man.'
Mr Al-Hilli met his future wife Ikbal ten years ago while on holiday in Dubai.
The couple married a year later in Surrey. Mrs Al-Hilli, an Iraqi who trained as a dentist in Sweden, then moved into her husband's home in Claygate. There were just six people at their register office wedding in Weybridge and Mr Al-Hilli once wrote on the Friends Reunited website: 'I am very happily married with a seven-month-old daughter that has me wrapped around her little finger already.'
He recently sold his beloved Suzuki Bandit motorbike, writing ruefully in the for sale advert: 'Unfortunately it has to go as it is hardly used now with kids on the scene.'
Zainab was born in 2005 and attends nearby Claygate Primary School. Her younger sister Zeena was due to start in the 'reception year' of the same school next week.
The family loved travelling across Europe in their caravan and were understood to own a property in the Dordogne region of south-west France.
On this occasion, Mr Al-Hilli told neighbours how the family were going on a spur-of-the-moment two-week holiday to 'get some sunshine and cure his sore back'.
French police guard the road to the murder scene at Cheverlaine near Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region of south-eastern France where the victims of a quadruple murder were discovered
Mr Aicolina said: 'He met his wife in Dubai. He went there on holiday and he met her there. It was a great love affair. She was Iraqi by origin but her parents live in Sweden. She was practising dentistry in the Middle East and they met by chance I think.
'They were very, very close and loved the girls very much – a happy loving family, very caring.
'He was a nice neighbour. Bad things always happen to the wrong people.'
Julian Stedman, 67, who was Mr Al-Hilli's accountant, insisted his client was 'straight up'.
'I have been to the house quite a few times and had tea there, Middle Eastern style,' he said.
'I have known Saad, his wife Ikbal and his father as well. Saad and I had talks possibly once a week and longer ones once every month.
Police investigate the caravan of the shooting victims at Le Solitaire du Lac camp site yesterday
'Saad is very much a family man. He was very much in love with his wife and his daughters. He adores them. He is a very kind and gentle person.
'I have had a tremendous shock. He never talked about what he did in Iraq.
'I never thought something of this kind would happen to him and his family. I am very saddened – especially for the little girls who have been left behind.
'He was a straight-up guy. There was never any suggestion that he might be up to no good. His accounts were perfect.'
Neighbour Lorna Davey added: 'It's shocking. I can't believe it. They were just like everybody else – very friendly and with two sweet little girls. The family was very westernised. There was no hint of an accent.'
By Daniel Bates
A gunman shouting ‘The English are
waking up!’ shot dead one person and critically wounded another during
the attempted assassination of a separatist Canadian politician.
Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois was hauled offstage by security guards midway through her live TV victory speech when the attacker opened fire.
The 62-year-old shooter, who was wearing a mask and dark clothing, was seconds away from the podium when he was grabbed by an armed bodyguard.
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Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois is removed from the stage by police as she declares victory to supporters in Montreal on Tuesday
A suspect thought to be the gunman is arrested by police outside the Parti Quebecois victory rally in Montreal
Parti Quebecois quickly exited the stage after the deadly shooting
Marois, who has just been elected premier of Quebec, wants the French-speaking province to secede from Canada - and probably the Commonwealth too.
Police have revealed that she was the target but have not disclosed the gunman’ s identity.
The shooting has highlighted the troubled relationship that Quebec has with the rest of the Canada which has grown rancorous in recent years.
Marois inspires particularly strong feelings as she has vowed to ban government workers from wearing religious clothing like the hijab and stop French speaking people from going to English speaking colleges.
Some have even been calling for the outgoing Quebec Premier Jean Charest, a federalist, to be murdered and dumped in a car boot.
Marois is surrounded by police following a security breach as she returns to the stage to address supporters
Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois declares victory
The attack began on Tuesday night as Marois was speaking at a concert hall in Montreal to celebrate her win in the polls.
As the commotion broke out she was grabbed by plainclothes police with a concerned look on her face as she said: ‘What’s going on?’
Montreal police Commander Ian Lafreniere said that the gunman set off a Molotov Cocktail at the rear door after using it to enter the building.
The 48-year-old man who was shot dead has not been identified and the victim who survived, aged 27, is still in hospital, but is no longer in a critical condition.
A third person, a man in his 30s, had to be taken to hospital suffering from shock.
The suspect is from Quebec but police are not sure if he is an anglophone or francophone as he was using both languages.
Caught the gunman: The 50-year-old unidentified man was caught by police. His motive was unclear but while police dragged him away he yelled in French: 'The English are waking up!'
Police said that the gunman lit a fire behind the Metropolis Theatre before he was arrested
One dead: Police cordon off the rear outside an auditorium where a gunman shot and killed at least one person during the Parti Quebecois victory rally
Detectives have searched his car and interviewed witnesses but have not yet spoken to the shooter and refused to speculate as to his motives.
The reaction in Canada has been one of shock and in a statement translated from French Marois said: ‘My thoughts go out to the family and friends of the deceased.
‘As a result of this tragedy, all Quebecers who are grieving today in the face of such senseless violence’.
A statement issued by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office said: ‘We are disturbed by this violence and our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.’
Police on the scene: It was not clear whether the gunman intended to shoot Ms Marois whose party favours separation for the French-speaking province from Canada
Quebec first elected a separatist government in 1976 and has since repeatedly argued with the rest of the country, which speaks English as its first language.
Parti Québécois’s win against the Liberal incumbents means that a separatist government is back in power in the province for the first time in a decade.
If Quebec seceded from Canada it is unlikely it would remain in the Commonwealth due to the hardline attitude of Marois and her colleagues.
As a nation however, Canadians think well of the Royal family and during their visit to the country last year after their wedding, Prince William and Kate Middleton were given a very warm reception.
The people of Quebec rejected the last separatist referendum in 1995, although by a small margin.
VIDEO: Marois is rushed from stage, while police surround the area...
PUBLISHED: 22:38, 1 September 2012
The full extraordinary story of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden has been revealed for the first time by a member of the elite team that killed the arch terrorist in his secret lair in Pakistan.
Bin Laden was shot in the head by a ‘point man’ from the crack US Navy Seals unit as the Al Qaeda leader peered out through his narrowly-opened bedroom door.
Bursting into his room, the Seals then fired more rounds into his body as he lay on the floor in his death throes and as two of his wives wailed beside him.
The gruesome last moments of the 9/11 mastermind are revealed in a book by retired Seal Matt Bissonnette who took part in the raid and made sure Bin Laden was dead.
Click here for video
The Navy SEAL Team 6 member who used the pseudonym Mark Owen to write No Easy Day
Former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette talking to US TV show 60 Minutes this week about the Osama bin Laden Pakistan raid which he claims to be part of. CBS said they disguised his appearance for his safety
But the minute-by-minute account of the heart-stopping, top-secret raid has infuriated Pentagon lawyers who are demanding that its launch next week is cancelled.
Bissonnette, 36 – who uses the pen-name Mark Owen – is accused of breaching a secrecy commitment that he signed when he left active duty last April. And it has incensed Islamic fundamentalists, who have posted online death threats against the author.
Owen’s detailed account in his book, No Easy Day, tells how, on a moonless night on May 1, 2011, 24 US Navy Seals left their base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, for Bin Laden’s one-acre walled compound in Abbottabad.
The Seals, who were to operate in teams of three, travelled in two Black Hawk helicopters.
They knew that, as well as the terror chief, they could expect to find at the compound Khalid, one of Bin Laden’s sons, and Ahmed al-Kuwaiti and his brother Abrar al-Kuwaiti, who had acted as couriers for Bin Laden.
Owen tells how the mission soon hit difficulties when the plan to ‘fast-rope’ the Seals from one of the helicopters into the compound had to be rapidly revised when one of the Black Hawks – with Owen inside – crash landed inside the courtyard.
Target: A member of Seal Team Six shot and killed Osama bin Laden during the elite squad's daring raid of his compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan
The other Black Hawk, which was supposed to fast-rope its passengers on to the roof of the main building in the compound, dropped them outside after seeing the crash. They were let inside by their shaken but uninjured comrades.
According to Owen’s book, they had 30 minutes to complete the mission based on the amount of fuel the helicopters had been carrying.
Owen says his team headed towards a guesthouse in the compound where they knew Ahmed al-Kuwaiti lived with his family. They also knew that the occupants had heard them coming.
The guesthouse was in darkness and had a set of metal double doors with windows at the top.
Owen describes kneeling at the side of the door while he attached an explosive charge. As one of his team headed towards the stairs that led to the roof of the guesthouse, AK-47 rounds from inside shattered the glass above the door, narrowly missing him and showering him in glass.
‘The first rounds always surprise the s*** out of you,’ he writes. Will, another member of Owen’s team, yelled in Arabic for al-Kuwaiti to come out while Owen returned fire. The door started to open and a woman called out.
Owen says that in the green glow of their night-vision goggles, the Seals could make out the figure of a woman clutching something in her arms. The first suspicion was that it was a bomb.
Owen recalls in his account how he started applying pressure to his trigger. Lasers on the Seals’ guns targeted the woman’s head – she could be dead in a second.
However the bundle was a baby. Al-Kuwaiti’s wife, Mariam, emerged with the infant and three more children behind her. Owen kept his weapon trained on her as she told them that Al-Kuwaiti was dead.
Owen says he spotted a pair of feet lying in the doorway of a bedroom and that he shot the body of al-Kuwaiti several times to make sure. With the guesthouse secured, the Seals sprinted to the main compound. Bin Laden’s house was split into a duplex and his family lived on the second and third levels and had their own private entrance.
A team led by a Seal referred to in the book as Tom was to clear the first level, according to Owen. Again, the building was dark but the soldiers’ night-vision goggles revealed a long hallway with two doors opening off on each side.
The point man – the leading Seal – spotted a man’s head sticking out of the first room on the left. The point man shot him and he disappeared back into the room. When the team reached the doorway the man, later identified as Abrar al-Kuwaiti, was writhing on the floor. The Seals opened fire on him. Al-Kuwaiti’s wife Bushra, who jumped in the way to shield him, was also killed.
Owen says a woman and several children were huddled in the corner crying. An AK-47 was found in the room and Tom unloaded it while the rest of the team searched the remaining rooms.
After one of the US troops blew up an iron gate blocking access to the second level, the Seals started filtering up a spiral staircase punctuated by small landings. When Owen reached the second level, he could see a body splayed out on its back on the landing above, between the second and third levels. One of the Seals had shot Khalid, one of Bin Laden’s sons, who had probably been living on the second floor.
Commando: A photo purported to be of Matt Bissonnette was published by Business Insider on Thursday
By now, Owen writes, Seals were queuing up behind Owen on the staircase, and the second-level hallway already had sufficient troops to search and clear it, so he continued to the third level, up steps slick with blood and passing Khalid’s unused AK-47 propped up on a step.
‘We had planned for more of a fight,’ he writes. ‘For all the talk about suicide vests and being willing to shed blood for Allah, only one of the al-Kuwaiti brothers got off a barrage.’
He describes how, as he and his team slowly ascended the narrow stairwell, his ears strained to hear footsteps or the sound of a round being chambered. He was less than five steps from the top of the staircase when he heard shots.
He writes: ‘BOP. BOP. The point man had seen a man peeking out of the door on the right side of the hallway about ten feet in front of him. I couldn’t tell from my position if the rounds hit the target or not. The man disappeared into the dark room.’
They cautiously approached the room where they found two women, hysterically crying and standing over a man lying at the foot of a bed. The younger of the two women rushed at the point man who grabbed them both and herded them into a corner. Owen comments that had the women been wearing suicide vests, this action would have cost the soldier his life but saved those of his colleagues.
According to No Easy Day, the fallen man, wearing a white sleeveless T-shirt, tan trousers and a tan tunic, had been shot in the right side of his head.
‘Blood and brains spilled out of the side of his skull,’ writes Owen. ‘In his death throes, he was still twitching and convulsing.’
Owen and another Seal shot more rounds into his chest until he was motionless.
At least three children sat stunned in the corner of the room as the commandos cleared two small rooms just off the bedrooms. Other Seal teams cleared the rest of the third level until it was declared secure.
Guard: A policeman keeps guard outside the gates of the compound where the Al Qaeda leader was killed
Owen and his comrades then examined the body.
He says: ‘The man’s face was mangled from at least one bullet wound and covered in blood. A hole in his forehead collapsed the right side of his skull. His chest was torn up from where the bullets had entered his body.
He was lying in an ever-growing pool of blood. As I crouched down to take a closer look, Tom joined me.
‘ “I think this is our boy,” Tom said.’
Owen writes that Tom did not want to report over the radio that this was Bin Laden because he knew that call would be rapidly relayed to Washington where President Obama was listening. The Seals wanted to be sure first.
The dead man was the correct height and looked like the composite photos the Seals had been given. They wiped the blood from his face using a blanket from the bed and he looked more familiar but younger than expected. It transpired his beard had been dyed.
Owen says he took photos of Bin Laden’s full body and then his head. ‘Pulling his beard to the right and then the left, I shot several profile pictures.’
Watching: In this undated image from video seized from bin Laden's compound, the Al-Qaeda chief watches a TV programme showing an image of President Obama
Tension: The raid of bin Laden's Abottabad compound was watched by President Obama and his closest advisers in the Situation Room of the White House
He asked his colleague to hold Bin Laden’s ‘good eye’ open. ‘He reached down and peeled back the eyelid, exposing his now lifeless brown eye. I zoomed in and shot a tight photo of it.’
Meanwhile other Seals were collecting computers, videos and notebooks and a team was preparing to blow up the crashed Black Hawk.
The remaining Black Hawk and a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, that had set up a forward refuelling point 15 minutes from the compound, and was carrying a ‘quick reaction force’ of additional troops, were circling the compound, using up precious fuel. Time was pressing.
Owen says a comrade, ‘Walt’, took DNA samples by dipping a swab in Bin Laden’s blood and used another to swab his mouth.
He tried jabbing a spring-loaded syringe provided by the CIA to get a marrow sample from Bin Laden’s thigh but the needle did not work and he gave up after several attempts.
Owen says two sets of DNA samples and two sets of photographs were needed so that if one of the helicopters was shot down on its way back to Jalalabad, one set of evidence would survive.
Meanwhile, Seals were trying to get confirmation from Bin Laden’s wife, who had been wounded in the ankle, that the dead man was the Al Qaeda leader. She gave a series of aliases for him such as ‘the sheikh’.
Owen recalls how one Seal then approached the children outside on the balcony. ‘They were all sitting silently against the wall. Will knelt down and asked one of the girls, “Who is the man?”
‘The girl didn’t know to lie.’
‘ “Osama bin Laden.”
‘ “Are you sure that is Osama bin Laden?”
‘ “Yes,” the girl said.
‘ “OK,” he said. “Thanks.”
‘Back in the hallway, he grabbed one of the wives by her arms and gave her a good shake.
‘ “Stop f****** with me now,” Will said, more sternly than before. “Who is that in the bedroom?” ’
Mission: The Al Qaeda leader was killed at this compound in Abbottabad by U.S. Special Forces - and Matt Bissonette claims that if SEAL Team 6 had never made it there they were to explain that they were searching for an unmanned drone to their Pakistani allies
Owen continues: ‘She started to cry. More scared than anything else, she didn’t have any fight left.’
‘ “Osama,” she said.
‘“Osama what?” Will said, still holding her arm.’
‘ “Osama bin Laden,” she said.’
With dual confirmation, the Seals ‘called it in’ to Admiral McRaven in Jalalabad, who was keeping President Obama updated.
While the soldiers cleared the building of material that would provide useful intelligence, Owen watched two Seals drag Bin Laden’s body by his legs down the stairs.
Searching the tiny bathroom, Owen found a box of Just For Men hair dye, which he assumed was what Bin Laden used on his beard.
Owen records that he was surprised by how tidily Bin Laden kept his clothes. All of his T-shirts were neatly folded into squares and his clothes were hung evenly spaced.
He discovered a rifle and a pistol, neither of them loaded.
Cover: No Easy Day is scheduled for release on September 4
Owen writes about his surprise that Bin Laden ‘hadn’t even prepared a defence’. He says the terror leader had no intention of fighting, though he asked his followers for decades to wear suicide vests or fly planes into buildings.
He says: ‘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.’
He says leaders are less willing to fight and that it was always the young and impressionable who strapped on the explosives and blew themselves up.
He writes: ‘Did he [Bin Laden] believe his own message? Was he willing to fight the war he asked for? I don’t think so. Otherwise, he would have at least gotten his gun and stood up for what he believed.
‘There is no honour in sending people to die for something you won’t even fight for yourself.’
The Seals had now been in the compound for 30 minutes and were reluctant to leave areas unsearched but had no choice.
Owen says Bin Laden’s body was put into a body bag. As many of the women and children as possible were herded into the guesthouse to protect them from the explosion when the Seals blew up the crashed helicopter.
Owen’s group of Seals, which had Bin Laden’s body, travelled on the remaining Black Hawk which, as a smaller, more manoeuvrable aircraft, had less of a chance of being shot down than the CH-47.
In the Black Hawk, one of the Seals had to sit on Bin Laden’s body which lay at Owen’s feet in the centre of the cabin.
At one point during the flight to Afghanistan, he says, they searched the body again but found nothing and the Seal returned to his seat on Bin Laden’s chest.
Despite having the body at his feet, Owen writes that he felt a sense of failure that the teams had left intelligence behind because they had run out of time.
Back at base in Jalalabad, the Seals loaded the body on to the back of a truck. It was to be transported to Bagram.
Admiral McRaven asked to see it. Owen says he pulled the body bag from the truck.
‘It flopped on the cement floor like a dead fish. Kneeling down, I unzipped the bag. Almost all of the colour had faded from his face and his skin looked ashy and grey. The body was mushy and congealed blood had pooled at the bottom of the bag.
‘There’s your boy,’ I said.
This undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan. A firsthand account of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden contradicts previous accounts, raising questions as to whether the terror mastermind presented a clear threat when SEALs first fired upon him
As McRaven stood over him, Owen pulled Bin Laden’s head from side to side by his beard so that the admiral could see his profile.
A crowd gathered as McRaven knelt down to take a closer look, writes Owen.
McRaven pointed at a Seal and asked how tall he was. ‘Six-four,’ the Seal answered – the same height as Bin Laden.
McRaven then asked the soldier to lie down next to the body so he could compare heights.Owen claims that the measurement was mostly a joke but reflected the fact that, because of his darker beard, Bin Laden did not look exactly as expected.
But there was no real doubt that the Seals had got their man.
Last night a Defence Department spokesman, Lt Col Todd Breasseale, told The Mail on Sunday that the Pentagon and CIA were ‘shocked’ to learn only a week ago that 575,000 hardback copies of the book have already been printed.
It is already heading the Amazon bestseller list, displacing the Fifty Shades of Grey series, and Bissonnette is due to appear on US current affairs TV show, 60 Minutes, within the next few days.
The Pentagon has notified Bissonnette that he faces possible civil and criminal charges unless he cancels the book launch.
l No Easy Day by Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer is published by Michael Joseph at £18.99.