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French Newspaper: Bin Laden Dead
Leaked intelligence report not confirmed
Amin George Forji (amingeorge)     Print Article 
Published 2006-09-24 05:53 (KST)   
A French newspaper reported that the most wanted man on earth, Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan on Aug. 23, mainly because the terrorist mastermind's geographical location made all potential medical assistance impossible.

"His geographic isolation, provoked by constant fleeing, is believed to have made medical assistance impossible [and] on Sept. 4, 2006, the Saudi security services received preliminary information of his death," the paper reported.

The French regional daily l'Est Republicain cited a classified defense document from the French DGSE intelligence services as its source of information. The French are said to have obtained the information from the Saudi intelligence service. It added that President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, as well as France's interior and defense ministers were all informed on Thursday.

A copy of the DGSE document was printed in full.

"According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services are now convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead.

"The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al-Qaeda fell victim to a very serious case of typhoid that led to a partial paralysis of his internal organs," the document said.

The French defense ministry implicitly confirmed the intelligence in a statement issued shortly after the document's publication.

"The defense minister has asked that an inquiry be carried out to determine the origin of the leak that can be punished by criminal charges," the statement said.

When asked about the report Saturday, Chirac said it was "in no way whatsoever confirmed," according to news reports. The U.S. and other governments have expressed doubts about the report.

Saudi-born bin Laden and his al-Qaida network was based in Afghanistan until a U.S.-led invasion ousted the ruling Taliban regime in 2001 following the attacks on Sept. 11, forcing bin Laden into hiding.

Since going into hiding, bin Laden has communicated mainly through video and audiotapes. The last videotape was released in late 2004, on the eve of the U.S. presidential elections. Several audiotapes were released this year.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Amin George Forji

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