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No sailors watched Bin Laden's sea burial

EMAILS between US military officers indicate that no sailors watched Osama bin Laden's burial at sea and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the ceremony.

The emails, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure about the al- Qa'ida leader's death.

Bin Laden was killed on May 1 last year by a US Navy SEAL team at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One email briefly describes how bin Laden's body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, then placed in a weighted bag.


According to another message, only a small group of the leadership of the USS Carl Vinson was told of the burial.

"Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed," the May 2 email from Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette reads. "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 flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body slid into the sea."