Bin Laden’s body buried at sea after raid in Pakistan
<!– –>This April 1998 file photo shows exiled al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. (AP Photo)
View larger imageAn image made from Geo TV video shows flames at what is thought to be the compound where terror mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbatabad, Pakistan, Sunday, May 1, 2011. (GEO TV)
View larger imagePresident Barack Obama reads his statement to photographers after making a televised statement on the death of Osama bin Laden from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday, May 1, 2011. (AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
View larger imageA large, jubilant crowd reacts to the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death at the corner of Church and Vesey Streets, adjacent to ground zero, during the early morning hours in New York on Tuesday, May 2, 2011. (AP / Jason DeCrow)
View larger imageCrowds gather outside the White House in Washington to celebrate after U.S. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden early Monday, May 2, 2011. (AP / Charles Dharapak)
View larger imageStephen Harper comments on the death of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, following US President Obama’s announcement in Abbotsford, B.C. on Sunday May 1, 2011. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Mon May. 02 2011 06:59:11
CTV.ca News Staff
The United States has reportedly buried the body of Osama bin Laden at sea, after killing him in a surprise military raid in Pakistan.
The notorious al Qaeda leader died Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed in a late night-address, when U.S. forces attacked a fortified compound in a town about 100 kilometres north of Islamabad where bin Laden had been located.
Intelligence sources said the CIA pinpointed bin Laden’s location and Obama gave the order to undertake the early-morning raid on the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
A small team of Navy seals flew to the compound via helicopter and engaged bin Laden in a fatal firefight.
U.S. officials said bin Laden was killed by a bullet to the head, after a firefight that ensued when the terrorist leader and his guards resisted the attack.
The compound was located less than a kilometre from a military academy that trains top officers in the Pakistani army.
Hamid Gul, a former Pakistani intelligence chief, said he found it “a bit amazing” that bin Laden could possibly be living in the area without authorities being aware of his presence.
CTV’s Washington Bureau Chief Paul Workman said it appears that the U.S. tracked bin Laden to his final location over a period of a few months.
“Barack Obama went on television last night to say that sometime last year in August, he received word of a lead on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden — he put it as deep in Pakistan, inside Pakistan,” Workman told CTV’s Canada AM from Washington on Monday morning.
“It was pursued, finally there were a number of high-level meetings and yesterday Obama authorized the attack on this compound.”
After bin Laden was killed, U.S. forces took custody of his remains and officials have privately told reporters he was buried at sea.
An official who spoke to The Associated Press said the decision was made to bury bin Laden at sea because Islamic tradition calls for a speedy burial. It was also decided that it would bee too difficult to find a country willing to accept the al Qaeda leader’s remains.
When Obama went on television late Sunday to inform the public of bin Laden’s death, he did not provide details on what happened to his remains other than confirming that the U.S. “took custody of his body.”
Some TV stations in Pakistan and Afghanistan aired pictures of a dead man’s face, whom the stations identified as that of bin Laden.
Obama credits work of American intelligence
In announcing bin Laden’s death, Obama gave credit to the Americans who have spent most of the past decade trying to track down the mastermind behind the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The U.S. president said that “the American people do not see their work, nor know their names,” though the public can “feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.”
Eric Margolis, a journalist and terrorism expert, said the full story behind the Sept. 11 attacks has died with bin Laden, though his divisive agenda will live on.
Speaking with CTV’s Canada AM on Monday morning, Margolis said the apparent decision to bury bin Laden at sea “shows how the United States is very concerned that he is a martyr figure and they didn’t want his grave to become a shrine.”
In the United States, thousands of Americans celebrated outside the White House gates throughout the night, after Obama announced that bin Laden had been killed.
Celebrations also broke out in New York City, where the Sept. 11 attacks brought down the World Trade Center towers nearly 10 years ago.
The death of bin Laden now raises questions about what kind of threats the Western world faces from al Qaeda and other like-minded groups.
The U.S. has put its embassies on alert and warned of the heightened possibility for anti-American violence.
Across the Pakistan border, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said bin Laden had been dealt his “due punishment,” though he said the surprise strike on the Abbottabad compound was proof that the war on terror should focus more outside his country’s borders.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised “the tenacity of the United States” in its nearly decade-long quest to hunt down bin Laden, while Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said his death was a “great result in the fight against evil.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said bin Laden’s death was “a resounding victory for justice, for freedom and for the shared values of all democratic countries that fight shoulder to shoulder against terror.”
In Saudi Arabia, the government released an official statement saying bin Laden’s death will be a “step that support the international efforts against terrorism.”
With files from The Associated Press