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Pakistan demolishes Osama bin Laden's home

February 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Crews in Pakistan are demolishing the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. troops last May.

They brought heavy machinery and flood lights to the site to work overnight. Police set up a barrier to keep spectators and most journalists away.

People living nearby were divided on what to do with the compound. Some wanted it torn down, while others wanted it turned into a tourist attraction to help the small town earn money.

Pakistan pushed ahead Sunday with the surprise demolition, likely an attempt to erase the symbol of the colossal security failure that humiliated the nation and severely damaged ties with Washington.

Islamabad was outraged by the covert American raid in the northwestern town of Abbottabad because it was not told about it beforehand - a decision the U.S. explained by concerns that someone in the Pakistani government might tip off the al-Qaida chief.

The operation left Pakistan's powerful army in the awkward position of explaining how it was unable to stop U.S. troops from attacking a compound deep inside Pakistan and located next to the country's military academy. Citizens also demanded to know how bin Laden was able to live in Abbottabad for six years without the government's knowledge, a question that remains unanswered.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.