Washington: The details about how al Qaeda kingpin Osama bin Laden was buried emerged on Thursday after the US Defence Department released the related internal emails exchanged between the top military officers.
In what is the first ever public disclosure about Osama’s death by the US government, the emails, suggest that the Qaeda supremo was buried according to complete Islamic ritual and that no sailors watched the burial.
Osama was killed by a team of Navy SEALs in a well planned raid at his house in Abbottabad in Pakistan on May 1, 2011.
One of the emails, that was sent on May 2, 2011, a day after Osama raid, from Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette to Admiral Mike Mullen and General James Mattis reads, "Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed. The deceased's body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. 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's body slid into the sea."
Another email informs that only a select few of the ship's leadership was informed of the burial.
Earlier, Gaouette, then the deputy commander of the Navy's Fifth Fleet, and another officer used code words to discuss whether the helicopters carrying the SEALs and bin Laden's body had arrived on the Vinson.
Although the Obama administration has pledged to be the most transparent in American history, it is keeping a tight hold on materials related to the bin Laden raid. In a response to separate requests from the AP for information about the mission, the Defense Department said in March that it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden's body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden's body on the Vinson.
The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden's body if he were killed.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Thursday, November 22, 2012, 13:52