Where bin Laden died

Abbottabad, the Pakistani city where Osama bin Laden was reportedly killed Sunday, was the scene of another key al-Qaeda capture this year.
Pakistani protesters burn furniture on April 12 during a riot in Abbottabad, the city north of Islamabad where Osama bin laden was reportedly killed Sunday. The protesters in this picture were angry that their Northwest Frontier Province was to be renamed Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa. Police said they fired tear gas and bullets into the crowd after they attacked police stations and burned vehicles, killing seven people. (M.Mohsin/Associated Press)

Abbottabad, the Pakistani city where Osama bin Laden was reportedly killed by U.S. forces Sunday, is also where another key al-Qaeda member was captured earlier this year.

Indonesian militant Umar Patek, 40, was arrested there on Jan. 25, although that was not reported until the end of March. Patek, who trained with al-Qaeda before 9/11, is wanted in Indonesia for his role in a series of bombings at nightclubs in Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people.

Patek is also suspected of involvement in at least two other suicide bombings in Jakarta in 2003 and 2009.

Patek's arrest was considered one of the biggest terror arrests of Barack Obama's presidency. Patek was nicknamed "little Arab" because of his slight build.

An undated poster released by Philippine National Police and the U.S. Rewards for Justice Program shows Umar Patek. Patek is one of the main suspects in the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 people dead. He was arrested in Abbottabad in January. ((Philippine National Police and the US Rewards For Justice Program/Associated Press))

When he was caught, Patek was in Abbottabad, about 150 kilometres north of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, en route to the nearby region of North Waziristan. North Waziristan is where al-Qaeda's top command is believed to be based. The U.S. government had offered a $1 million US bounty for the arrest of Patek.

Abbottabad is a two-hour drive from Islamabad and less than a day's drive from Afghanistan. It is on the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and south Asia.

The city is known as a tourist destination and as an important military town. Barracks now housing Pakistani troops once housed British troops when it was the capital of the Hazara District of British India, beginning in the 19th century. The city is named after James Abbott, the British major who founded Abbottabad in 1853. He also wrote the poem Abbottabad.

Abbottabad was badly damaged in 2005 by an earthquake centred in nearby Kashmir.


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Patek's capture followed the arrest of a man police allege was an al-Qaeda facilitator in Abbottabad. Tahir Shehzad, who had been working as a postal clerk in the city, had been under surveillance since last year. Intelligence officials learned about Patek's whereabouts from Shehzad.

Hours before news of bin Laden's death began to leak out, there were reports coming out of Abbottabad about explosions and a helicopter crash. Gunfire, two small blasts and then a massive explosion were heard, according to media reports.

With files from the Associated Press