Still from a previously unreleased video of slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Still from a previously unreleased video of slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Reuters

US Navy Seals who captured Osama bin Laden took turns in firing hundreds of bullets into his dead body, special operations sources have claimed.

According to the Special Operations Forces Situation Report website, which cites two confidential sources, US seals repeatedly shot "magazines-worth of ammunition into Bin Laden's body".

The site, which is operated by military and special operations veterans, claims that the excessive number of times bin Laden was shot is the reason why the US government has never released photos of the al-Qaida leader's body.

Jack Murphy, an eight-year army special operations veteran, said that while Navy Seals may have felt it "morally, legally, and ethically appropriate" to shoot the body a few times to ensure that he really was dead and no longer posed a threat, this does not justify the extent of the damage caused.

"What happened on the bin Laden raid is beyond excessive," Murphy commented. "The level of excess shown was not about making sure that bin Laden was no longer a threat. The excess was pure self-indulgence."

Details about the classified mission to capture and kill bin Laden were revealed in Seal Team Six member Mark Bissonnette's book No Easy Day, which was published in September 2012.

However, according to Murphy, Bissonnette's version is "perhaps the most measured and polite description that one could give".

"In his death throes, he was still twitching and convulsing," Bissonnette wrote in the book.

"Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds. The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless."

Bissonnette does not specify how many bullets were used to kill bin Laden but it appears less excessive than amount documented in the latest report.

"Now you know the real reason why the Obama administration has not released pictures of Osama Bin Laden's corpse," Murphy wrote.

"To do so would show the world a body filled with a ridiculous number of gunshot wounds. The picture itself would likely cause an international scandal, and investigations would be conducted which could uncover other operations, activities which many will do anything to keep buried."

At the time of the assassination, President Obama argued that releasing the photo of bin Laden's dead body or his burial at sea could have been used as propaganda for al-Qaida.