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Love in times of terror: Osama's youngest wife
The story of one woman who dared to marry the man the world loved to hate remains untold.
New Delhi: The story of the hunt for the world's most elusive terrorist and his eventual death in a daring helicopter assault has all the trappings of a Hollywood movie.
A decade-long frustrating manhunt culminating in a trail that leads the US secret service to a sprawling compound in the heart of Pakistan, a near-silent Navy SEALs helicopter that hovers over a high security compound at midnight, operatives take on the residents in a hail of bullet fire, a terrorist known for waging an armed struggle against the West shot dead, unarmed, as the US President watches on a monitor in White House's Situation Room till he gets the desired message - EKIA: Enemy Killed In Action.
As the age of Osama bin Laden, regarded as the untouchable nemesis of the West, comes to an end, the story of one woman who dared to marry the man the world loved to hate remains untold.
The story of Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah
She was only 17 when she was given as a "gift" to the world's most wanted man, but Amal Ahmed Abdul Fatah was ready to take a bullet for her husband on the day he was shot dead in a US raid on her home of five years in Pakistan.
The details of that operation are still very sketchy with conflicting reports emerging everyday. But according to the White House, Fatah was shot in her leg as she lunged forward at US security forces in an incredible attempt to shield her husband from fire.
The US had initially said Laden used the women in the compound as a human shield.
Fatah was identified from a passport found inside the compound and the 29-year-old was there in the room when the Navy SEALs shot bin Laden, according to media reports.
She was the youngest of his five wives and his supposed favorite. Fatah chose to stay with Laden, almost twice her age, in hiding even when Laden had earlier sent her away to Yemen fearing for her safety. Despite strict surveillance she found her way back to Laden's hiding place and was living with him for the past five years and had borne him two sons and a daughter.
It is fair to assume that Fatah subscribed to her husband's brand of violent extremism to have lived with him for many years where his other wives had left citing the hardships that go with being constantly on the move.
Bin Laden the husband and father
Reports emerging out of the raid two days after the secret operation, reveal a never-seen-before side to the man reviled as a killer of thousands in the bloodiest strikes in US history. It paints him as a family man and a husband living in a sheltered compound bustling with children. A Reuters photo taken soon after the US strike shows a bloody corpse lying in a pool of blood over what appeared as a child's toy squirt gun.
Laden had in a will apologized to his children for not devoting enough time to them.
Of Laden's other four wives, he had divorced one and three had moved to Syria.
According to media reports, Fatah is now trapped in an international custody battle, with Pakistan and the US locked in a diplomatic standoff over her fate as she lies in a military hospital in Rawalpindi with a bullet wound.
Four of Laden's children have been taken into custody, local media reports said. The operation by the elite Navy seals resulted in the death of bin Laden, one of his sons, two suspected couriers and a woman who was being used, perhaps voluntarily, as a human shield.