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White House confirms Osama bin Laden's burial at sea

RIA Novosti

03:58 03/05/2011

WASHINGTON, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - The White House has officially confirmed that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, killed during a special U.S. operation in Pakistan on Sunday, was buried at sea in accordance with Islamic traditions.

Earlier U.S. media reports said the body of the world's most wanted terrorist may have been buried in Saudi Arabia.

"The disposal of - the burial of bin Laden's remains was done in strict conformance with Islamist precepts and practices. It was prepared in accordance with the Islamic requirements," Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan told the White House briefing on Monday.

"We early on made provisions for that type of burial, and we wanted to make sure that it was going to be done, again, in strict conformance," he said.

Answering a question on why this type of burial was chosen, Brenan said "it was determined that there is the requirement in Islamic law that an individual be buried within 24 hours."

"Going to another country, making those arrangements, requirements, would have exceeded that time period, in our view. And so, therefore, we thought that the best way to ensure that his body was given an appropriate Islamic burial was to take those actions that would allow us to do that burial at sea," he said.

CNN earlier reported that bin Laden's body was buried at sea in order to avoid creating a shrine for followers on land, but Brennan brushed off the allegations, saying that "burials at sea take place on a regular basis."

At least 44 U.S. Navy SEALs were involved in the military operation to capture bin Laden. According to preliminary reports of the shootout, the al Qaeda leader was shot in the head while hiding behind a woman during the operation. The unidentified woman and three men, one believed to be bin Laden's son, were also killed in the operation that lasted several minutes.

No U.S. military personnel were killed in the operation.



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