Unconfirmed Report Says Bin Laden Is Dead
A newspaper in France said today that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan, but there is no confirmation of the report. Pakistan, where bin Laden is believed to be hiding, said it had no information about his death. The regional newspaper, L'Est Republicain, quoted French secret service reports saying that Saudi Arabia is convinced that bin Laden died a month ago. The report said he died of a very serious case of typhoid causing partial paralysis of his internal organs. French defence ministry officials said the report could not be confirmed, but said the ministry would launch an inquiry into the leak of secret documents."The information published this morning in the L'Est Republicain newspaper relating to the supposed death of Osama bin Laden cannot be confirmed," the defence ministry said. "The Defence Minister (Michele Alliot-Marie) has asked that an inquiry be carried out to determine the origin of the leak that can be punished by criminal charges." The newspaper printed what it said was a copy of the report dated September 21 and said it was shown to President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and France's interior and defence ministers on the same day. "The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al Qaeda was a victim while he was in Pakistan on August 23, 2006 of a very serious case of typhoid which led to a partial paralysis of his internal organs."