Pakistan demolishes Osama bin Laden compound
The Pakistani government was on Saturday demolishing the compound in the north-western city of Abbottabad where al-Qaeda former chief Osama bin Laden was killed by US commandos last May, a senior police official said, DPA reported.
Heavy machinery was moved near the compound, while hundreds of paramilitary and military troops deployed.
"The demolishing process has started," said Abbottabad police chief Karim Khan, declining to give further details.
Bin Laden stayed at the high-walled, compound surrounded by barbed wire for more than five years until US commandoes killed him and took away his body May 2. One US helicopter crashed in the assault.
"It was inevitable," said a witness, Atif Ali.
"In fact, the government is scared that people might turn this compound into a sacred tomb or something."
Pakistan's government has generally kept the area around the compound sealed off, occasionally granting permission for media representatives to view the building from the outside.
Relations between Pakistan and the US have soured since the US raid on bin Laden's compound, with Washington suspecting that someone in Pakistan's powerful intelligence agencies might have been protecting al-Qaeda former chief for years.
Pakistan says the unilateral US action was an assault on its sovereignty.