Raid On Bin Laden Was Live-Blogged, Though The Blogger Didn't Know It

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AP Photo/Al-Jazeera/TV, file

FILE - In this file television image broadcast on Qatar's Al-Jazeera TV, is said to show Osama bin Laden, at the wedding of his son in January of 2001. A person familiar with developments said Sunday, May 1, 2011 that bin Laden is dead and the U.S. has the body.

Now computer programmer Shohaib Athar is known as "the guy who live-blogged the Osama raid without knowing it."

"Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)."

With that fairly innocent sounding post on Twitter, Shohaib Athar became, in his own words, "the guy who live-blogged the Osama raid without knowing it."

A computer programmer who The Associated Press reports is 33-years-old and lives in Abbottabad, Pakisan, Athar tweeted throughout the night about what he was hearing — without realizing for hours what was happening.

At first he was annoyed:

"Go away helicopter - before I take out my giant swatter :-/"

But he was soon worried as his building shook and there were reports that a helicopter had crashed:

"A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S"

"and now I feel I must apologize to the pilot about the swatter tweets :-/"

And then, as word started to spread about who had been killed, a dawning realization:

"I need to sleep, but Osama had to pick this day to die :-/"

Followed by a flood of e-mails, many from the news media, and a bit of a plea:

"I am JUST a tweeter, awake at the time of the crash. Not many twitter users in Abbottabad, these guys are more into facebook. That's all."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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