A picture of Osama bin Laden’s dead body may be released by the White House to end speculation over whether the al Qaeda was really killed by US forces on Monday.
Bin Laden was shot twice in the head yesterday in a raid on his compound in the city of Abbottabad in Pakistan. The al Qaeda mastermind’s body was then buried at sea to avoid his grave turning into a shrine.
However, despite The White House’s claim that there was a DNA match between the body and tissue taken from bin Laden’s dead sister’s brain, the lack of bin Laden’s body, or even a photograph to prove that he is dead is likely to feed into conspiracy theories about the veracity of the operation.
Deputy National Security Advisor for Counter-terrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan told reporters he was aware that pictures of bin Laden’s dead body might be needed to quell speculation.
“We are going to do everything thing we can to make sure that no body had bases to try to deny that we got Osama bin Laden,” he said.
“And so, therefore, the releasing of information and whether that includes photographs – this is something to be determined.”
Brennan’s comments came after calls from politicians for Osama bin Laden’s death to be verified.
US Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman said that however unpleasant the pictures are – bearing in mind that bin Laden was shot in the head – it will be necessary to release them.
Senator Susan Collins said the photographs would silence those who will try to generate a myth that bin Laden is alive.
Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s former Ambassador to the US, said: “I can’t conceive the US president would go out to make a statement to the world that Bin Laden is dead without being able to produce evidence that he is dead.
“I think we will see some evidence – DNA or photographic – to prove there is not still some phantom Osama bin Laden riding the Tora Bora mountains.”
The US has said that bin Laden’s body was flown to Afghanistan where his identity was confirmed. Officials say a DNA sample was taken that matched that of several other family members. According to some sources say facial recognition technology was also used.
Bin Laden’s body was then “buried at sea” according to Islamic practices.
“Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were followed,” an official said.