WASHINGTON, May 2, 2011 — Osama bin Laden received a Muslim ceremony as he was buried at sea, a senior defense official said here today.
The religious rites were performed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea, the official said, speaking on background, and occurred within 24 hours of the terrorist leader’s death.
“Preparations for at-sea [burial] began at 1:10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and were completed at 2 a.m.,” the official said.
The burial followed traditional Muslim burial customs, the official said, and bin Laden’s body was washed and placed in a white sheet.
“The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker,” the official added. Afterward, Bin Laden’s body was placed onto a flat board, which was then elevated upward on one side and the body slid off into the sea.
The deceased terrorist was buried at sea because no country would accept bin Laden’s remains, a senior defense official said.
CIA and Defense Department officials are sure it was the body of bin Laden. CIA specialists compared photos of the body with known photos of bin Laden and said with 95-percent certainty it was the terrorist leader, a senior intelligence official said.
In addition, the intelligence official said, bin Laden’s wife identified the al-Qaida leader by name while the strike team was still in the compound.
CIA and other specialists in the intelligence community “performed the initial DNA analysis matching a virtually 100-percent DNA match of the body against the DNA of several of bin Laden’s family members,” the official added.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)