1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Yemeni protesters watch news of bin Laden's death
Muhammed Muheisen  /  AP
Anti-government protesters in Sanaa, Yemen, watch a TV broadcasting a report about the killing of Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. They were in a tent at the site of a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday.
NBC News and news services
updated 5/2/2011 7:15:57 PM ET 2011-05-02T23:15:57

The at-sea burial of Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was videotaped and probably will be publicly released soon, two Pentagon officials said Monday.

The officials said photos of the body before its disposal in the North Arabian Sea on Monday also may be released. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because decisions on releasing the materials were pending.

It was not clear whether the firefight in which U.S. forces are said to have shot bin Laden to death was videotaped.

John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief, told reporters that the administration was still deliberating on release of the material. Making it public might satisfy those who would otherwise doubt that it was bin Laden who was killed.

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Bin Laden was buried at sea from the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the north Arabian Sea after being washed according to Islamic custom during a religious funeral, a U.S. defense official said Monday.

"Preparations for at-sea burial began at 1:10 a.m. EST and were completed at 2 a.m. EST," the official said. "Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were followed."

The official described the procedure to NBC News as follows:

  • The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet.
  • The body was placed in a weighted bag.
  • A military officer read prepared religious remarks that were translated into Arabic by a native speaker.
  • After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body eased into the sea from the USS Carl Vinson.

The rites sparked a debate about Islamic customs, with some Muslim clerics calling the procedure humiliating and others saying it was proper.

A U.S. official said that the burial decision was made after concluding that it would have been difficult to find a country willing to accept the remains. There also was speculation about worry that a grave site could have become a rallying point for militants.

President Barack Obama said the remains had been handled in accordance with Islamic custom, which requires speedy burial.

U.S. officials told NBC News that the Quran is not specific about burials, as long as the body of the deceased is cleansed quickly. There is no single authoritative Islamic text on burial, they said.

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The standard Muslim practice is placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca, some clerics said. Sea burials can be allowed, they said, but only in special cases where the death occurred aboard a ship.

"The Americans want to humiliate Muslims through this burial, and I don't think this is in the interest of the U.S. administration," said Omar Bakri Mohammed, a radical cleric in Lebanon.

He called the burial a "strategic mistake" that was bound to stoke rage.

Khalid Latif, executive director and chaplain for the Islamic Center at New York University, disagreed.

"I think the White House showed an immense amount of wisdom in the manner they decided to bury him," Latif told msnbc.com.

Latif, also a New York Police Department chaplain, said that under Islamic law it would be important to weigh the impact that bin Laden's burial anywhere on land would have on most people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

"Given the fact that this person was one of the most hated individuals who ever lived, we have to be mindful of what his burial means to people on the whole of the earth," he said. "I wouldn’t want my brother, my father, my loved one to be buried anywhere near him."

"My bigger concern is not the treatment of his body … my bigger concern here is what impact (the burial) has on people as a whole."

Latif said he hoped bin Laden's death would mean the end to a painful chapter for Muslim and non-Muslim relations.

"Muslims really hated this man," he said. "He has caused so many problems for Muslims in general."

'Land and sea belong to God'
According to Islamic teachings, the highest honor to be bestowed on the dead is giving the deceased a swift burial, preferably before sunset. Those who die while traveling at sea can have their bodies committed to the bottom of the ocean if they are far off the coast, according to Islamic tradition.

"They can say they buried him at sea, but they cannot say they did it according to Islam," Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai's grand mufti, said about bin Laden's burial. "If the family does not want him, it's really simple in Islam: You dig up a grave anywhere, even on a remote island, you say the prayers and that's it."

"Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances," he added. "This is not one of them."

But Mohammed Qudah, a professor of Islamic law at the University of Jordan, said burying the Saudi-born bin Laden at sea was not forbidden if there was nobody to receive the body and provide a Muslim burial.

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"The land and the sea belong to God, who is able to protect and raise the dead at the end of times for Judgment Day," he said. "It's neither true nor correct to claim that there was nobody in the Muslim world ready to receive Bin Laden's body."

Clerics in Iraq — where an offshoot of al-Qaida is blamed for the death of thousands of people since 2003 — also criticized the U.S. action. One said it only benefited fish.

"If a man dies on a ship that is a long distance from land, then the dead man should be buried at the sea," said Shiite cleric Ibrahim al-Jabari. "But if he dies on land, then he should be buried in the ground, not to be thrown into the sea. Otherwise, this would be only inviting fish to a banquet."

The Islamic tradition of a quick burial was the subject of intense debate in Iraq in 2003 when U.S. forces embalmed the bodies of Saddam Hussein's two sons after they were killed in a firefight. Their bodies were later shown to media.

"What was done by the Americans is forbidden by Islam and might provoke some Muslims," said another Islamic scholar from Iraq, Abdul-Sattar al-Janabi, who preaches at Baghdad's famous Abu Hanifa mosque. "It is not acceptable and it is almost a crime to throw the body of a Muslim man into the sea. The body of bin Laden should have been handed over to his family to look for a country or land to bury him."

Prominent Egyptian Islamic analyst and lawyer Montasser el-Zayat said bin Laden's sea burial was designed to prevent his grave from becoming a shrine. But an option was an unmarked grave.

"They don't want to see him become a symbol, but he is already a symbol in people's hearts."

NBC News, msnbc.com's Brinley Bruton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Bin Laden buried at sea

Photos: World reaction

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  1. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officers keep watch at Grand Central Station in New York on May 6, one day after information from Osama bin Laden's compound indicated al-Qaida considered attacking U.S. trains on the upcoming anniversary of the September 11 attacks. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Muslims protest the killing of bin Laden in a demonstration outside the U.S. embassy on May 6, in London. The demonstration, which was called by radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, was in close proximity to a rival protest by the English Defense League that celebrated the death of the al-Qaida leader. (Oli Scarff / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. English Defense League members gather outside the U.S. embassy in London to cheer the death of bin Laden, facing off against a rival Muslim protest condemning the killing, on May 6. (Oli Scarff / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Supporters of the Pakistani religious group Jamaat-e-Islami rally against the U.S. in Abbottabad on May 6. Hundreds took to the streets in the town where Osama bin Laden was killed, shouting "death to America." (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A Pakistani on Friday walks past covered graffiti that reads "Usama bin Laden toun" (Osama bin Laden town) in Abbottabad, where bin Laden was killed on May 1. (Asif Hassan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Kashmiri Muslims on Friday offer funeral prayers in absentia for Osama bin Laden in Srinagar, India. Friday is a traditional day of protest in the Muslim world, where demonstrations frequently take place after the main weekly prayers. (Tauseef Mustafa / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Anti-American Pakistanis rally in Kuchlak, just north of Quetta, on Friday. (Arshad Butt / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Filipino anti-riot police and Muslims clash during a protest march in Manila, Philippines, on Friday. Hundreds marched toward the U.S. embassy to denounce the manner in which bin Laden‘s body was buried at sea. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Egyptian Islamists march to the U.S. embassy after the weekly Friday prayer in Cairo on Friday. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A Pakistani in Karachi on Thursday reads a newspaper showing the passport of Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, Osama Bin Laden's fifth wife who was shot in the leg during the raid. Amal Ahmed al-Sadah is being treated at the military hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. (Rehan Khan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Workers print T-shirts bearing images of Osama bin Laden at a shop in Surabaya in East Java, Indonesia, on Thursday. The shirts sell for 60,000 rupiah ($7) each. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Members of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front hold portraits of U.S. President Barack Obama and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during a pro-U.S. rally as they celebrate the killing of bin Laden, at Noida in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, May 5. U.S. officials sought to keep a lid on growing scepticism over Washington's version of events around bin Laden's death, insisting the al Qaeda leader was killed during a firefight in the compound in Pakistan where he was hiding. (Parivartan Sharma / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A member of the radical group Islam Defenders Front walks past posters depicting Osama bin Laden and. President Barack Obama, during prayers for the al-Qaida leader at their headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, May 4. (Irwin Fedriansyah / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Pakistani seminary students gather for an anti-U.S. rally in Quetta on May 4, against the killing of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan said the world must share the blame for failing to unearth Osama bin Laden as anger swelled over how the slain leader had managed to live undisturbed near Islamabad. (Banaras Khan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. An armed police officer stands guard outside the U.S. embassy in London, May 4. Security personnel in London remain vigilant following the death of al-Qaida's Osama bin Laden. (Matt Dunham / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Members of Indonesia's Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) hold prayers for Osama bin Laden in Jakarta May 4. Indonesian Islamists hailed bin Laden as a martyr on Wednesday, illustrating sympathy for the al-Qaida leader among Southeast Asian militant groups. (Beawiharta / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. People shout slogans during a protest against the U.S. military raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden in Multan, Pakistan, May 4. (MK Chaudhry / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Soldiers and police officers patrol in the Nice-Cote d'Azur airport, in Nice, France, May 4, as security remained vigilant following the death of Osaam bin Laden. (Lionel Cironneau / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Activists from the Anti Terrorist Front hold placards and shout pro-U.S, President Barak Obama slogans during a demonstration in New Delhi on May 3. (Raveendran / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Supporters of the banned Islamic organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa shout anti-American slogans before a symbolic funeral prayer for Osama bin Laden in Karachi, May 3. The founder one of Pakistan's most violent Islamist militant groups has told Muslims to be heartened by the death of Osama bin Laden, as his "martyrdom" would not be in vain, a spokesman for the group said on Tuesday. (Athar Hussain / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Supporters of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity organization widely reported to be linked with the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, offer funeral prayers for Osama bin Laden, in Karachi, Pakistan, May 3. (Rehan Khan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Palestinians protest against the killing of the al-Qaida leader in the Gaza Strip on May 3. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which governs Gaza, condemned the killing by U.S. forces of bin Laden and mourned him as an 'Arab holy warrior'. (Ali Ali / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Hundreds of Muslims offer special prayers for Osama bin Laden in Hyderabad, India, May 3. (Mahesh Kumar A / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A special issue of the magazine, Time, on the death of Osama bin Laden, will hit newsstands on Thursday, May 5. The cover show a red “X” over bin Laden’s face, and the magazine says it is the fourth cover in Time’s history to feature the red “X.” Other covers showed Adolf Hilter on May 7, 1945, Saddam Hussein on April 21, 2003, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on June 19, 2006. (Time via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. People read the newspapers with cover stories of Osama bin Laden, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 3. (Mohammed Mashhor  / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Supporters of the banned Islamic organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa embrace each other after taking part in a funeral prayer for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Karachi May 3. The founder one of Pakistan's most violent Islamist militant groups has told Muslims to be heartened by the death of Osama bin Laden, as his "martyrdom" would not be in vain, a spokesman for the group said on Tuesday. (Athar Hussain / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A member of an elite Filipino police anti-terrorist unit stands guard in front of the US embassy in Manila, the Philippines on May 3. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. A vendor sells newspapers detailing the death of Osama bin Laden in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 3. (Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Members of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) hold placards in New Delhi, India on May 3 during a rally celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden. (Adnan Abidi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Kristina Hollywood and her daughter Allyson attend a candlelight vigil for 9/11 victims at a memorial site following the death of Osama bin Laden in East Meadow, New York on May 2. (Daniel Barry / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. University of New Mexico Senior Wes Henderson waves an American Flag during a rally in Albuquerque, NM, organized by a group of students on Monday to honor the troops after the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. (Adolphe Pierre-louis / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Visitors, on Monday, look over the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., following the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan a day earlier. Nearly 10 years after Sept. 11, 2001 construction is underway to erect a formal memorial at the crash site. (Jeff Swensen / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Danielle and Carie LeMack and Christie Coombs, who lost relatives on 9-11, pause during a ceremony to honor the victims, Monday, May 2 at the Garden of Remembrance in Boston, Mass. Families of local victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks gathered at the 9/11 memorial to reflect upon the death of Osama Bin Laden. (Darren McCollester / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, Sunday, May 1. Also pictured are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. (The White House / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. In this handout image provided by The White House, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Green Room of the White House, following his statement detailing the mission against Osama bin Laden, Sunday in Washington, DC. (The White House / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Part of a damaged helicopter is seen lying near the compound where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Sunday, May 1. (DOD via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. (Left image) Middle school teacher Gary Weddle with his beard photographed minutes before he shaves off the beard at his East Wenatchee, Wash., home on Sunday, May 1, 2011. (Right image) Weddle displays his cut beard while shaving the remaining stubble. Weddle completed a vow made nearly 10 years ago not to shave until Osama bin Laden was caught or proven killed. (Donita Weddle / The Wenatchee World, Capital Press via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. People look out at Ground Zero a day after the death of Osama Bin Laden on Monday, May 2 in New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. World Trade Center construction workers listen as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speak about Osama bin Laden at the World Trade Center site in New York on Monday, May 2. (Brendan McDermid / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Los Angeles Airport Police patrol the Tom Bradley terminal at Los Angeles International Aiport on May 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, Calif. Security presence has been escalated at airports, train stations and public places after the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the United States in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Carroll Fisher, of Auburn, Wash., a retired member of the US Air Force, waves a flag at passing cars as he stands on the "Freedom Bridge" just outside Joint Base Lewis-McChord on May 2, near Tacoma, Wash., the day after President Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. (Ted S. Warren / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Angry supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam burn a representation of the United States during a rally to condemn the killing of Osama bin Laden in Quetta, Pakistan on Monday. (Arshad Butt / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Afghan men working at a TV shop hug while watching the news of the death Osama bin Laden, May 2, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Paula Bronstein / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. A screen grab from the FBI's Most Wanted website, taken May 2, shows the status of Osama bin Laden as deceased. The al-Qaida leader was killed in a U.S. raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital Islamabad early on Monday, officials said. (fbi.gov via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Joyce and Russell Mercer, parents of New York Firefighter Scott Mercer who lost his life on 9/11, sit before a news conference concerning the death of Osama Bin Laden at the law offices of Norman Siegel on Monday in New York City. (Daniel Barry / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. An armored Park Police vehicle is parked at the base of the Washington Monument, May 2, in Washington, DC. The DC area and other places around the nation have stepped up security after it was announced that Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U. S. forces in Pakistan. (Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. A man selling carpets reads a newspaper reporting the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2 in Quetta, Pakistan. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Jim Schweizer, assistant to the director of Fort Snelling National Cemetery, straightens flowers at the grave of Thomas Burnett, May 2, in Bloomington, Minn. Burnett died on Sept, 11, 2001 along with 39 other passengers and crew when Flight 93 was hijacked and crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pa. Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was killed in a firefight with elite American forces in Pakistan on Monday, and then quickly buried at sea in a stunning finale to a furtive decade on the run. (Richard Sennott / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. This aerial photo, released May 2, 2011 by the Pentagon, shows a view of the compound in Abbottbad, Pakistan where a U. S. military operation was conducted and Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed on May 1. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Ashley Gilligan reflects on the death of Osama bin Laden at NBC Studios in New York on Monday. Gilligan lost her father, Ronald Gilligan, in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the death of Osama Bin Laden prior to posthumously awarding Private First Class Anthony Kaho'ohanohano, U.S. Army, and Private First Class Henry Svehla, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, in the East Room of the White House in Washington on May 2. (Shawn Thew / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Andrea Masano visits the memorial to Massachusetts victims of the attacks of 9/11 in Boston, Mass. on Monday. (Brian Snyder / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Women read an extra edition of a Japanese newspaper in Tokyo, May 2, reporting the death of Osama bin Laden. (Shizuo Kambayashi / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Kristen Grazioso, 14, places balloons on a carved stone Monday in Middletown, N.J., that honors her father, who was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center. There are 37 stones in the garden representing those from Middletown who died in the attack. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. A vendor arranges newspapers at his stall in Bhopal, India on Monday. (Sanjeev Gupta / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Tara Henwood Butzbaugh shows a photo of her family at the World Trade Center site in New York on Monday. Her brother was killed in the 9/11 attack. (Andrew Kelly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. A Transportation Security Administration agent checks the luggage of a passenger on May 2 at the Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Fla. Security in airports and train stations has been increased in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden. (Stan Honda / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Gamache pays respects to victims of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, at the 911 Pentagon Memorial on May 2 in Arlington, Va. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Jeff Ray of Shanksville, Pa., visits the temporary memorial to United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., Monday, May 2. (Gene J. Puskar / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Supporters of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden shout anti-American slogans, after the news of his death, during a rally in Quetta on Monday. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. New York City police officers with Operation Hercules arrive at the Armed Forces recruitment center in New York's Times Square on Monday. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. Dionne Layne, right, hugs Mary Power in reacton to the news of the death of Osama bin Laden on Monday in New York. At left is 1 World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, which is currently under construction. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. Pakistan army soldiers stand guard near the compound where it is believed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Monday. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Students look towards the compound where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed from a nearby madrasa in Abbottabad on Monday. (Faisal Mahmood / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Dan Parker of Shamokin, Pa., holds a U.S. flag outside the White House in Washington, D.C. on Monday after learning of Osama bin Laden's death. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. People buy newspapers reporting the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden at local newspaper printing press in Karachi, Pakistan on Monday. (Shakil Adil / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, is flanked by vice presidents Mohammad Qasim Fahim, left, and Mohammed Karim Khalili, right, as he addresses the media at the presidential palace in Kabul on Monday. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that the killing of Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan proved Kabul's long-standing position that the war on terror was not rooted in Afghanistan. (Shah Marai / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. People shout slogans while holding placards and photographs of Osama bin Laden as they celebrate his killing in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad on Monday. (Amit Dave / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. People react to the death of Osama bin Laden in Times Square, New York City, early Monday. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. University of Texas at Austin students celebrate the news of Osama bin Laden’s death at Cain & Abel’s bar late Sunday night. (Erika Rich / Daily Texan via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. People light candles in the streets at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center, in response to the death of Osama bin Laden on Sunday night, May 1, in New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  72. A driver and passengers celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden in the streets of Lawrence, Kan., on Sunday. President Barack Obama announced Sunday night, May 1, that Osama bin Laden was killed in an operation led by the United States. (Orlin Wagner / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  73. Arab-Americans celebrate the news of the death of Osama bin Laden in Dearborn, Mich., early Monday, May 2. (Carlos Osorio / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  74. Crowds gather at ground zero in New York early Monday, shortly after President Obama announced that a U.S. military operation had killed Osama bin Laden in a firefight at a large mansion in Pakistan. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  75. People cheer and wave flags on the "Freedom Bridge" just outside Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sunday near Tacoma, Wash., after they heard the news of bin Laden's death. (Ted S. Warren / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  76. David Huber and Nicole Lozare of Arlington, Va., pay their respect to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the Pentagon Memorial early Monday morning, after President Obama announced bin Laden's death. A special forces-led operation killed the al-Qaida leader in a mansion outside Islamabad in Pakistan. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  77. Crowds gather at ground zero in New York on Monday. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  78. U.S. Marines of Regiment Combat Team 1 watch TV at Camp Dwyer in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Monday as President Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden. Obama said late Sunday U.S. time that justice had been done after the September 11, 2001, attacks, but warned that al-Qaida will still try to attack the U.S. (Bay Ismoyo / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  79. People celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden in Times Square in New York City on Sunday night. (Pantaleo-Taamallah / Abaca) Back to slideshow navigation
  80. A crowd outside the White House in Washington cheers on Sunday upon hearing the news that terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is dead. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  81. President Barack Obama announces that Osama bin Laden has been killed during a televised address on Sunday, May 1, 2011. (NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
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Timeline: A timeline of Osama bin Laden's life

Considered enemy No. 1 by the U.S., the Saudi millionaire is the perpetrator behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Click on key dates to learn more about the founder of al-Qaida, an international terror network.