WASHINGTON: The body of Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea after he was killed by US covert forces in Pakistan , US media reported Monday.
Cable television networks CNN, MSNBC and Fox said a senior US official had confirmed to them that bin Laden's body had been buried in the sea, without giving further details.
US officials did not respond when contacted by AFP for confirmation of the reports.
But earlier an administration official said of the corpse: "We are ensuring that it is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition.
"This is something that we take very seriously. And so therefore this is being handled in an appropriate manner."
Burying bin Laden's body at sea would ensure that his final resting place does not become a shrine and a place of pilgrimage for his followers, ABC television reported earlier.
QAEDA NEEDS "A MIRACLE" TO RECOVER
Some analysts say that bin Laden's memory may now inspire followers, who will now see him as a martyr, to take revenge.
And the extensive online forums, chat rooms and websites operated by al Qaeda sympathisers will ensure his role as the group's motivator-in-chief will endure.
"As a symbol, as a source of ideology, bin Laden can continue to play those roles dead as well as alive," Pillar said.
But his departure will add to pressure on morale throughout the network, despite al Qaeda's glorification of martyrdom and a perception that bin Laden died an honourable death in battle.
Gerges said it would "take a miracle" for al Qaeda to recover ideologically and operationally from bin Laden's death.
Thomas Hegghammer, a specialist on militancy at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, said that over the long term his loss would deepen the group's disarray.
"It is bad for al Qaeda and the jihadi movements. Bin Laden was a symbol of al Qaeda's longevity and its defiance of the West. Now that symbol is gone."