News / Asia

Pakistani Man Tweets bin Laden Raid

Twitter page of Sohaib Athar. In the early hours of Monday, Athar reported on his Twitter account that a loud bang had rattled his windows in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad.
Twitter page of Sohaib Athar. In the early hours of Monday, Athar reported on his Twitter account that a loud bang had rattled his windows in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad.

A computer programmer in Pakistan has drawn tens of thousands of new followers to his Twitter account, after unknowingly providing an account of the U.S. operation that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Sohaib Athar posted a message early Monday on the microblogging service saying there was a helicopter hovering over the town of Abbottabad, and called for it to "go away." He then posted about a window-shaking bang, and said he hoped it was "not the start of something nasty."

Tweet of the bin Laden raid
Over the following hours, ReallyVirtual exchanged tweets with some of his neighbors as they listened to more explosions and the crash of one helicopter. A taxi driver notified him that Pakistani security forces had cordoned off an area. When the truth finally became clear, he tweeted, "I need to sleep, but Osama had to pick this day to die."


Athar relayed some reports of possible explanations for the situation, including a drone aircraft or a helicopter that crashed during training.

It was later revelaed that a helicoper involved with the U.S. operation had crashed.

One of Athar's twitter followers connected Athar's posts to the speech given by U.S. President Barack Obama saying bin Laden had been killed.  

Athar later described himself as "the guy who unknowingly liveblogged the Osama raid."

After news of his story spread, Athar's posts have included mentions of his interviews with various media outlets and apologies for not being able to respond to every journalist's request.  

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