|Total view of the map of Usama Bin Ladin Operation|
At the climax at the end of a 40-minute firefight, one of the soldiers uttered the words "Geronimo EKIA", meaning a man visually identified as the target of the operation - Bin Laden - had been killed in action, officials said.
A high-risk operation given the green light by President Barack Obama in what his counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, termed "one of the gutsiest calls by any president in recent memory" had achieved its aim, the death of Washington's most wanted man.
The raid begins
The operation took place at a fortified compound on the outskirts of Abbottabad in north-west Pakistan, about 100km (62 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.
The raid happened at some time between 0000 and 0130 local time on Monday morning (1900-2030 GMT on Sunday), residents told the BBC.
At least two US helicopters, believed to have taken off from US air bases at either Jalalabad or Bagram in Afghanistan, were seen flying low over the area, causing panic among some residents.
They describe hearing three explosions several minutes apart, followed by a huge explosion that shook their houses. Most residents said they then also heard gunshots, but that the firing was brief, just a couple of minutes.
As the explosions started, they say, the lights in the area went off, going on and then off again shortly afterwards.
One report quotes some residents as saying they were commanded in Pashto - not the common language of the area - to turn their lights off, but this is unconfirmed.
It is believed that people inside the compound fired at the helicopters.
CIA director Leon Panetta said "25 people went on the ground" from two Blackhawk helicopters.
When one helicopter developed "problems", Mr Panetta said the plans changed and both helicopters set down rather than drop troops on the roof of the compound.
The US special forces, said to be from the elite Navy Seals Team Six, then breached "three or four walls" to get in the compound.
Rather than let the disabled helicopter fall into the wrong hands, the commandos blew it up.