Photos from bin Laden's compound show 3 dead men
Reuters has obtained photographs from an unidentified Pakistani man who entered Osama bin Laden's compound just hours after the US raid that killed the terror leader and several men in the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. One of the photographs is reproduced above; the others can be seen at a gallery at the Guardian website.
Pictured above is the body of one of the three men killed during the raid. According to the US government, two of the men who were killed were Osama bin Laden's couriers, and another was Khalid, his son. The identity of the three men has not been disclosed; it is unclear if Khalid is among those pictured. There have been unconfirmed rumors that Hamza bin Laden, Osama's other son, has been taken by the US SEALs and CIA operatives who executed the raid. Some speculated that he was alive and others that he was dead.
The US government has decided, for the moment, not to release official photographs of Osama bin Laden as it is feared "it could have incited violence and [sic] used as an al Qaeda propaganda tool," Reuters reported.
"I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk," [President] Obama told the CBS programme "60 Minutes."
The US has also been cautious about the handling of bin Laden's corpse. After transporting bin Laden's body out of Pakistan, US personnel attempted to verify his identity through multiple means. Photographs of the body were sent to CIA analysts for verification, and US officials also gathered and screened DNA evidence, obtaining a positive result the morning after the raid. The test showed "a virtually 100% match" to DNA collected from several of bin Laden's family members, according to an intelligence official quoted by The Guardian.
Bin Laden was then buried at sea on May 2, in a manner "in strict conformance with Islamist precepts and practices," according to John Brennan, White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser. During a 40-minute ceremony aboard the USS Carl Vinson, a Muslim seaman recited prayers "and ensured that the body was washed and wrapped appropriately in cloth" before being dropped into the Indian Ocean, according to an ABC News report.
US officials stated that burial at sea was the only practical way to fulfill the Islamic precept to bury the body in a short period of time, and a senior Defense official told CNN that "no country was willing or able to take bin Laden's body for a funeral." It is also widely believed that US officials wanted to avoid the creation of a shrine to bin Laden.