ABBOTABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was hiding out in a mansion near a Pakistani military training academy and less than two hours' drive from Islamabad when he was killed in a dramatic CIA-led operation involving helicopters and ground troops on Sunday night.
The revelation that bin Laden was sheltering inside Pakistan is likely to ratchet up pressure on Islamabad.
The country's arch-rival, India, was quick to comment, saying the news underlined its "concern that terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in Pakistan".
A Reuters photographer in the valley town of Abbotabad north of Islamabad said police had blocked the road leading to the area where the night-time raid at a huge compound took place.
"After midnight, a large number of commandos encircled the compound. Three helicopters were hovering overhead. All of a sudden there was firing towards the helicopters from the ground," said Nasir Khan, a resident of the town.
"There was intense firing and then I saw one of the helicopters falling down," said Khan, who had watched the dramatic scene unfold from his rooftop.
Senior Pakistani security officials said the operation, carried out at around 1:30 a.m., involved both helicopters and ground troops.
A Pakistani military helicopter crashed near Abbotabad on Sunday night, killing one and wounding two, according to local media. It was unclear if the crash was related to bin Laden's death, but witnesses reported gunshots and heavy firing before one of two low-flying helicopters crashed near the military academy.
Express 24/7 television showed an image of what it said was bin Laden shot in the head, his mouth pulled back in a grimace.