Osama bin Laden's burial at sea was quickly criticised by Muslim scholars who claimed it had breached sharia law and warned that it may provoke calls for revenge attacks against US targets.
Others used the sea burial question to question whether he was dead at all, with doubts fuelled by the absence of authentic photographs of his corpse.
The 24-hour rule has not always been applied in the past. For example, the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein – sons of the Iraqi dictator Saddam – were embalmed and held for 11 days after they were killed by US forces. Their bodies were later shown to media, provoking some angry responses.