The United States may have to release photographs of Osama Bin Laden’s corpse to smother any claims he survived the special forces raid on his compound in Pakistan.

US Homeland Security chairman Joseph Lieberman said that unless al-Qaeda chiefs acknowlegde that their leader is dead, some may deny that DNA testing proved the US had killed the right man.

“It may be necessary to release the pictures – as gruesome as they undoubtedly will be, because he’s been shot in the head – to quell any doubts that this somehow is a ruse that the American government has carried out,” Senator Lieberman said.

Senator Susan Collins, one of the Republican party’s senior security experts, agreed that many hardline Islamists “will try to generate this myth that he’s alive, and that we missed him somehow, and in order to put that to rest it may be necessary to release some of the pictures”.

While some claim that Bin Laden was given a sea burial so supporters could not create a shrine for him, US officials said there was no land alternative because no country was willing to take his body.

However, Muslim clerics said Bin Laden’s burial was a violation of Islamic tradition that may further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks against American targets.

Sea burials can be allowed, they said, but only in special cases where the death occurred aboard a ship.

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