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IT consultant inadvertently livetweets attack on Osama bin Laden's compound
[May 02, 2011]

IT consultant inadvertently livetweets attack on Osama bin Laden's compound

(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sohaib Athar, an IT consultant living in Abbottabad, discovered on Monday morning that he had live-tweeted the fatal raid on Osama bin Laden's compound by acccident.

Athar, who lives near the Jalal Baba Auditorium - about 250m from bin Laden's compound - put out his first tweet relating to the attack at about 9pm on Sunday BST, or 1am local time, when he noticed a helicopter hovering overhead: "a rare event", he commented.

That was followed by "A huge window-shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope it's not the start of something nasty." But he mused that something odd must be going on: "Since taliban (probably) don't have helicpoters, and since they're saying it was not "ours", so must be a complicated situation," he pondered.

The downed helicopter also puzzled him: "people are saying it was not a technical fault and it was shot down. I heard it CIRCLE 3-4 times above, sounded purposeful." He added "it was too noisy to be a spy craft, or, a very poor spy craft." The Pakistan army put out suggestions that the helicopter crash was "accidental" and not an "attack".

But the misdirection didn't fool many. Reports that the army had cordoned off the crash site arrived from a taxi driver, and then that it was conducting a door-to-door search suggested the crash was no accident. Soon another rumour surfaced: that two helicopters that followed the crashed one were "foreign" (ie not Pakistani).

He awoke to discover "interesting rumours" about the events - and then realised, from reading Twitter, that "the helicopter crash in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the President Obama breaking news address [which at that stage was had not announced bin Laden's death] are connected." The realisation hit him at about 6am UK BST (10am Pakistan time): "Uh oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it." (c) 2011 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

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