Bin Laden’s Final Resting Place

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The carrier USS Carl Vinson was Osama bin Laden's penultimate destination / Navy photo

Osama bin Laden left this world from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea about mid-day Monday. In a strange twist on an ancient military tradition, he was buried at sea. The ceremony was in accord with Muslim law, which requires burial within 24 hours of death, Pentagon officials said.

Bin Laden was killed about 1 a.m. local time Monday. After his body was taken to Afghanistan for DNA confirmation, it was consigned to a watery grave about 12 hours later. His body was washed and wrapped in a white sheet, then placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks that were translated into Arabic.

Then bin Laden’s body was placed on a flat board, which was tilted to send his mortal remains into the water and beneath the waves. Islamic tradition says that “it is obligatory to bury a dead body in the ground, so deep that its smell does not come out and the beasts of prey do not dig it out, and, if there is a danger of such beasts digging it out then the grave should be made solid with bricks, etc.” A Pentagon official said the sea burial was selected because no country wanted bin Laden buried in its soil.