Friday 22 November 2019

DNA from late sister proved identity of body

Martin Evans in London

THE death of Osama bin Laden was confirmed following a positive DNA match with members of his family.

Tissue samples taken from his corpse had provided virtually a "100pc" match with relations, including a sister who died from a brain tumour in a United States hospital, according to White House sources.

After being identified, the terrorist's body was flown from a US base in Afghanistan to an American warship, where it was buried at sea in a traditional Islamic ceremony.

However, the decision to dispose of his remains at sea within 24 hours led to inevitable speculation and conspiracy theories that the US authorities were trying to cover up the true identity of the man killed.

According to senior Pentagon officials, the authorities used "multiple methods" to ensure that the corpse was that of the man behind the September 11 atrocities.

As well as using facial recognition techniques, they took photographs of the corpse, which were examined by senior intelligence officials.

To eliminate any doubt, forensic scientists at a US base in Afghanistan undertook DNA analysis and found a match with tissue belonging to a woman known to have been Bin Laden's sister.

The unnamed woman -- one of 52 children of Bin Laden's father -- died in a hospital in Boston several years ago and authorities got a court order to store a sample of her DNA for just such an eventuality.

There were claims that other members of the Bin Laden clan, who were supportive of efforts to bring him to justice, had given DNA samples to the Americans.

A Pentagon official also said a wife of Bin Laden, who had been in the compound during the raid, had identified him by name.

It is understood she has now been detained by the US.

A spokesman said there should be "no doubt in anyone's mind" that the person killed was the al-Qa'ida leader.

US officials confirmed that Bin Laden had been buried at sea at about 6am GMT yesterday after efforts to find a country willing to take his remains had failed.

Initially, US diplomats contacted their counterparts in Saudi Arabia -- Bin Laden's country of origin -- to ask them if they would take the corpse.

But having had his citizenship revoked in 1994 because of his terrorist activities, officials in Riyadh refused.

To avoid placing Bin Laden's body somewhere it could become a place of pilgrimage for extremists, US officials ordered that he be buried at sea.

His body was flown by helicopter to USS Carl Vinson, believed to have been stationed in the north of the Arabian Sea, where traditional procedures for an Islamic burial were followed.

A US official confirmed: "The deceased's body was washed and 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."

He said the body was then "eased into the sea".

Muslim clerics complained that the burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition that may further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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