In an unprecedented move, the US administration has been forced to offer an apology for a 'practical joke that was taken too far'.
A mere three days after the announcement that the al Quaeda figurehead, Osama bin Laden had been killed, the very head of that former terrorist leader was offered for auction on e-bay by an unknown seller.
There has been some speculation that the burial at sea was a mere ruse and that perhaps the Navy SEAL team responsible for the operation had offered the grisly memento for sale. This has been denied by US military sources, although this has not dampened enthusiasm in the US, where many were anxiously waiting to see whether any other body parts would be offered for auction.
E-bay was forced to withdraw the item from sale, although bidding had reached $560,000, following a government announcement this morning.
A White House spokesman confirmed earlier, 'The body of Osama bin Laden was buried at sea and therefore this e-bay episode would appear to be a rather tasteless practical joke. The perpetrators will be traced and suitable admonished. We can confirm that the head is not that of the former al Quaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden. We hope that this statement will end further speculation.'