Al Qaeda leader Osama 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 and receiving a religious funeral, a U.S. defense official said on 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 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 which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was place on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body eased into the sea," the official said.