U.S. Navy Seal Robert O’Neill
Muslim militants have threatened to kill a former US Navy SEAL who says he fired the fatal shot that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Robert O’Neill, 38, told the Washington Post on Thursday he shot bin Laden in the forehead.
Jihadists have reportedly issued a death threat against him following the revelation.
In postings on Twitter and the al-Minbar Jihadi Media forum, pictures of O’Neill had been distributed and messages in Arabic and English urging revenge, said SITE, a group which monitors jihadist websites.
“One jihadist wrote in Arabic, for example, ‘We will send the picture to the lone wolves in America, this Robert O’Neill, who killed Sheikh Usama bin Laden…’,” SITE said.
Another posted in both languages said, “To our loved ones among the Muslims in the United States of America, this is your chance for Paradise, the width of which is the heavens and the earth,” SITE added.
The former commando said he decided to come forward ahead of planned media appearances next week when his identity was disclosed by a website operated by former SEALs.
The revelation was in protest at O’Neill’s decision to reveal his role in the raid on bin Laden’s hideout in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad.
The highly decorated Montana native told the Post he was near the head of the column of US soldiers, adding that at least two other SEALs fired shots.
The newspaper said two SEAL team members had corroborated his identity.
O’Neill is set to appear in a documentary on the Fox network next week.
At bin Laden’s compound, O’Neill was located in the number two position for the attack.
Bin Laden briefly appeared at the door but the SEAL in front of O’Neill apparently missed his shot.
“I rolled past him into the room, just inside the doorway,” O’Neill said.
“There was bin Laden, standing there. He had his hands on a woman’s shoulders, pushing her ahead.”
O’Neill said he could clearly identify bin Laden through his night-vision scope, despite the darkness – and fired.
The onetime SEAL said it was clear bin Laden was dead as his skull was split.
O’Neill is the second member of the elite unit involved in the bin Laden raid to go public, in a move which has dismayed military brass and serving SEALS who maintain a fierce, Omerta-like code of silence.
Matt Bissonnette published his account No Easy Day in 2012 under the pseudonym Mark Owen.