Burial at sea was best option for dead Osama: White House

Last Updated: Tue, May 03, 2011 02:46 hrs

Washington: Burial at sea was the "best" option available to Osama bin Laden, killed by the US special forces in Pakistan's Abbottabad, the White House said as it asserted his body was handled strictly in accordance with the Islamic practices.

"The burial of bin Laden's remains was done in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices. It was prepared in accordance with the Islamic requirements," John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, told reporters at the White House.

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"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.

"So it was taken care of in the appropriate way. I'm not going to go into details about sort of the where, but that burial has taken place. It took place earlier today, our time."

Earlier, a senior Defense official said the religious rites were conducted for the deceased on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, which is located in the North Arabian Sea.

"Preparations for at-sea burial began at 1:10 am Eastern Standard Time and were completed at 2:00 am Eastern Standard Time," he said.

Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were followed. Osama's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet.

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"The body was placed in a weighted bag, a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased body eased into the sea," the official said.

Brennan said it was decided much in advance that in the "best interests of all involved that this burial take place, again, according to Islamic requirements, at sea."

"It was determined that there is requirement in Islamic law that an individual be buried within 24 hours -- went inside of Pakistan, carried out the operation; he was killed, he was removed from Pakistan," he said.

"There were certain steps that had to be taken because of the nature of the operation, and we wanted to make sure we were able to do that in the time period allotted for it.

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"Going to another country; making those arrangements, requirements would have exceeded that time period in our view," White House official said. 

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