Bin Laden Buried at Sea, Official Says

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)

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