(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Timothy A. Hazel/Released)
By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON (NNS) — Osama bin Laden received a Muslim ceremony as he was buried at sea, a senior defense official said in Washington, D.C., May 2.
The religious rites were performed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the North Arabian Sea and occurred within 24 hours of the terrorist leader’s death, said the official.
“Preparations for at-sea [burial] began at 1:10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and were completed at 2 a.m.,” said the official.
The burial followed traditional Muslim burial customs, and bin Laden’s body was washed and placed in a white sheet, said the official.
“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.
Central Intelligence Agency (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, bin Laden’s wife identified the al-Qaida leader by name while the strike team was still in the compound, said the intelligence official.
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.