IT man documents raid that killed Osama bin Laden
Islamabad, May 2: A tweeter who described himself as an IT consultant taking a break from the 'rat-race' by hiding in the mountains" in Abbottabad in Pakistan may have unwittingly covered
US military's dramatic attack that brought down Osama bin Laden.
At about 1am local time, 33-year-old Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual) put out his first tweet that a helicopter was flying above Abbottabad — "a rare event," he said.
"Go away helicopter - before I take out my giant swatter :-/" Athar joked.
He then reported a "huge window-shaking bang" and says "it was too noisy to be a spy craft, or a very poor spy craft it was." He went on to say, "I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S". He also tweeted that a friend heard it six km away too.
At 1.30 am, the 40-minute operation that eliminated the mastermind behind 9/11 was over and hours later, news broke of Bin Laden's death. "Uh oh, now I'm the guy who live blogged the Osama raid without knowing it.," he tweeted. "and here come the mails from the mainstream media... *sigh*"
In the age of Twitter, perhaps it's no surprise that the first signs of the US operation that killed the al Qaeda leader were noticed by an IT consultant awake late at night.
And twitter buffs were ecstatic over the micro-blogging site stealing a march over the mainstream media for the developing story.
"Osama bin Laden is dead -- yeah, you knew that already, but did you know that Twitter broke the story first?," said one blogpost.
During the course of his intense tweeting, Athar said," The few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani. ... Taliban (probably) don't have helicopters ... So must be a complicated situation.
The tweets later took the following pattern [It] was shot down near the Bilal Town area ... People are saying it was not a technical fault and it was shot down. ... Another rumour: two copters that followed the crashed one were foreign Cobras.
Athar ... Awoke to discover "interesting rumours" ... The realisation hit him at about ... 10am Pakistan time ... [he'd] inadvertently live tweeted [the] attack on Osama bin Laden's compound.
It was a tweet again that gave the first credible sign bin Ladin’s death. Keith Urbahn, the [ex-] Chief of Staff for ... Donald Rumsfeld, tweeted "I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden.” ... [It was] re-tweeted hundreds of times and Twitter itself experienced traffic spikes of 4,000 tweets per second. Athar, who describes himself online as "an IT consultant" who is originally from the major city of Lahore, Pakistan, but is "taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops" has since been added by thousands of Twitter followers in the hours after bin Laden's death was announced.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 2 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 2 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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