3 May 2011

Osama bin Laden buried at sea

10:18 pm on 3 May 2011

Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea after a Muslim funeral on an aircraft carrier in the north Arabian Sea. No precise location has been given.

The 54-year-old leader of Al Qaeda leader was shot in the head and killed in a raid by American special forces on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad close to the Pakistan Military Academy.

The death was announced by United States President Barack Obama at the White House late on Sunday night (local time), who said justice had been done.

Bin Laden is believed to have ordered the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, as well as a number of other deadly bombings. He topped the US "most wanted" list.

American officials say bin Laden's was handled according to Islamic practice and tradition which calls for a body to be buried within 24 hours.

Pentagon officials say finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, so the US decided to bury him at sea.

An American intelligence official told reporters that DNA tests on the body showed a virtual 100% match to relatives. A woman, believed to be his wife, also identified him by name.

Pakistan not told of assault

A presidential adviser on counter-terrorism, John Brennan, says the decision to bury bin Laden at sea was taken in part to avoid his grave becoming a point of pilgrimage for his followers.

Mr Brennan says the US did not tell Pakistan about the assault until all their people and aircraft were out of the country's airspace as there was concern that Pakistani forces would react against the operation.

Mr Brennan said US troops had been prepared to take bin Laden alive if the opportunity arose - but he resisted and was shot.

World a better place - Obama

President Barack Obama says the world is a better place after the death of Osama bin Laden.

At the White House on Monday, Mr Obama said it was a good day for the country and that the US had kept its commitment to see that justice was done.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the operation sent a signal to the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

''You cannot wait us out, you cannot defeat us, but you can make the choice to abandon al-Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process,'' she said.