The top US law enforcement officer said Wednesday the killing of
Osama bin Laden in Pakistan was legal and consistent with the laws of war, DPA reported.
Bin Laden "was, by my estimation and the estimation of the US Justice Department, a lawful military target," Attorney General Eric Holder said at a Senate hearing. "And the operation was conducted in a way that's consistent with our law, with our values."
Questions have been raised about whether the elite US commandos who stormed bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad should have killed him, because the White House acknowledged Tuesday he was unarmed.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Navy SEALs had encountered significant resistance during that raid that included a firefight, and that the shooting of bin Laden was justified. US officials say the soldiers were open to taking bin Laden alive if there was no resistance.
Holder said it is within the law to "target an enemy commander in the field."
"If he had surrendered - attempted to surrender - I think we should, obviously, have accepted that," Holder said. "But there was no indication that he wanted to do that. And, therefore, his killing was appropriate."