Osama bin Laden, America’s Public Enemy No. 1 for the past decade, has been buried at sea in accordance with strict Islamic law, it is being reported Monday morning. The ritual follows his death on Sunday in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan.
Positive identification of his remains was made by the American military prior to the disposal of his body, say news reports.
As word of bin Laden’s death spread, as was confirmed by President Barack Obama in a late-night special address from the East Room of the White House, large groups of people gathered around the United States, including outside the White House, on college campuses and at Ground Zero in New York City, where nearly 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, in an attack ordered by bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist group.
Emotions at these rallies were mixed: celebratory of the death of a mass murderer, yet somber for those whose lives were lost, and watchful for possible reverberations from the death. At Ground Zero, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sung.
His Final Days
Though he was long believed to be hiding in remote but protected terrain along the Pakistani-Afghan border, bin Laden’s final location was inside a large military compound in Abbottabad, about an hour’s drive north of Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad, The New York Times reports. His residence had no Internet or phone connection.
Bin Laden “resisted the assault force” of American operatives who descended upon the house on Sunday, a senior administration official told the newspaper. Bin Laden tried to retaliate with an automatic weapon, it is being said. Reports also say that Special Forces Navy Seals shot him in the head, though the first hit didn’t kill him. Full details have not been made available.
According to the official who spoke to The Times, military and intelligence officials first learned last summer that bin Laden was in the compound and strategized to take him out. Five national security meetings were held in March to plan the attack, and on Friday morning, April 29, before he toured tornado-devastated Alabama, President Obama as Commander in Chief ordered the special forces and C.I.A. operatives to strike.
Four other people besides bin Laden – one believed to be bin Laden’s son and two others to be his couriers, as well as a woman used as a shield by a male fighter – were killed along with bin Laden in the 40-minute raid.