Bin Laden corpse photo 'gruesome'

The White House has warned that a photograph of Osama Bin Laden's corpse was "gruesome" and said it was concerned it could be inflammatory if it was publicly released.

"It is fair to say it is a gruesome photograph ... it could be inflammatory," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

"We are reviewing the situation. We are going about this in a methodical way and trying to make the best call."

Carney added that senior administration officials were discussing whether it would be advisable to release the photograph of bin Laden after he was shot in the head by a US special forces soldier in a daring raid in Pakistan on Sunday.

Bin Laden not armed

US officials have also revealed bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed by Navy Seals.

White House spokesman Carney told press this morning bin Laden and his family were in the second storey of the Abbottabad compound when special forces raided the building.

Upon entering the room bin Laden was in, one of his four wives "rushed the US assaulter and was shot in the leg, but not killed".

"bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed."

However Carney said bin Laden resisted capture.

"There was concern bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed he did resist."

Downstairs two couriers and one woman were killed, Carney said.

Bin Laden in compound for years

US officials have also revealed they believe bin Laden may have been at the Abbottabad compound for the past five or six years.

The latest details about the operation will further fuel speculation there was no effort to capture bin Laden and that Pakistan knew about bin Laden's location.

Pakistan authorities not told of bin laden mission

Pakistan were not involved in the operation, in fact US officials have revealed informing Pakistani authorities could have undermined the operation.

"It was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardise the mission," CIA Director Leon Panetta told Time magazine. "They might alert the targets."

Addressing the House of Commons, British Prime Minister David Cameron, raised concerns about the support bin Laden received in Pakistan.

"The fact that Bin Laden was living in a large house in a populated area suggests he had an extensive support network in Pakistan. We don't currently know the extent of that network so it is right that we ask searching questions about it, and we will."

The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement responding to accusations of Pakistani inaction towards bin Laden.

"There has been a lot of discussion about the nature of the targeted compound, particularly its high walls and its vicinity to the areas housing Pakistan Army elements. It needs to be appreciated that many houses occupied by the affectees of operations in [Federally Administered Tribal Areas], have high boundary walls, in line with their culture of privacy and security. Houses with such layout and structural details are not a rarity."

The statement said members of the bin Laden family captured in the raid "are all in safe hands and being looked after in accordance with law. Some of them needing medical care are under treatment in the best possible facilities."

They will be handed over to their countries of origin, the statement read.

"[The] Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies have played a pivotal role in breaking the back of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan as well as around the world. Most of the successes achieved by the US and some other friendly countries have been the result of effective intelligence cooperation and extremely useful military support by Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan and its security forces have resolved to continue their fight against terrorism till people of Pakistan can live in peace and security."

- AFP, NZ Herald staff

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