Laboratory work on DNA from Osama bin Laden continued Monday morning even as the body had been buried at sea, CNN reported.
A U.S. government official did not release additional details about the burial, but said it was “handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition. This is something that we take very seriously, and so therefore this is being handled in an appropriate manner.”
Saudi Arabia, where bin Laden was born 54 years ago, declined a U.S. offer to take the body, the Wall Street Journal quoted as person familiar with the situation as saying.
A senior U.S. national security official told CNN that officials had multiple confirmations that the body was bin Laden’s, saying they had the “ability to run images of the body and the face.”
U.S. officials said they used a number of methods to identify the body as bin Laden.
One official said it was clear to the assault force that the body matched bin Laden’s description, but they used “facial recognition work, amongst other things, to confirm the identity.”
“Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult,” the British newspaper the Guardian quoted a U.S. official as saying. “So the U.S. decided to bury him at sea.”
Fears about Bin Laden’s burial place turning into a shrine for Islamists were probably unfounded, since the Wahhabi/Salafi tradition rejects such things. Even Saudi kings are buried in unmarked graves, the Guardian said.
Burial at sea is rare in Islam, though several Muslim websites say it is permitted in certain circumstances.
According to alislam.org, the body should be lowered into the water “in a vessel of clay or with a weight tied to its feet. As far as possible it should not be lowered at a point where it is eaten up immediately by the sea predators.”