Bin Laden death not an assassination: US Attorney General

London: The Navy SEALs raid on Osama bin Laden`s Abbottabad hideout was "not an assassination", US Attorney General Eric Holder has asserted, saying that al-Qaeda leader`s surrender would have been accepted, if offered.

The top US legal official said the operation was a "kill or capture mission" and that bin Laden`s surrender would have been accepted if offered, BBC reported.

Holder said the special forces had acted "in an appropriate way" in the absence of any clear indication bin Laden had been going to surrender.

"If the possibility had existed, if there was the possibility of a feasible surrender, that would have occurred," he said.

"But their protection, that is the protection of the force that went into that compound, was I think uppermost in our minds," the Attorney General said in an interview, day after a statement by bin Laden`s family questioning why he was not captured alive.

His sons criticised the US for what they described his arbitrary killing. The UN has also raised concerns.

The attorney general reiterated that the operation was legal, saying that international law allows the targeting of enemy commanders.

"I actually think that the dotting of the i`s and the crossing of the t`s is what separates the United States, the United Kingdom, our allies, from those who we are fighting," he said.

"We do respect the rule of law, there are appropriate ways in which we conduct ourselves and expect our people to conduct themselves, and I think those Navy Seals conducted themselves in a way that`s consistent with American, [and] British values."

Bin Laden was shot dead on 2 May in the complex in Abbottabad, Pakistan.