France, U.S., unable to confirm report bin Laden dead
By Anna Willard and David Morgan
PARIS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - France and the United States said on Saturday they could not confirm a report that Osama bin Laden had died and France launched a probe into how a secret document containing the claim was leaked.
French regional daily L'Est Republicain, published in Nancy, quoted a document from France's DGSE foreign intelligence service as saying the Saudi secret services were convinced the al Qaeda leader had died of typhoid in Pakistan in late August.
An image taken from an internet posting by al Qaeda's media arm on September 11, 2006, shows Osama bin Laden speaking in an unknown location. France's Defence Ministry said on Saturday a secret service report saying bin Laden had died could not be confirmed but said it would launch an inquiry into the leak of secret documents. (REUTERS/Internet)
Time magazine separately posted an article on its website citing an unidentified Saudi source, who claimed bin Laden was stricken with a water-borne disease and may already be dead.
President Jacques Chirac told reporters bin Laden's death "has not been confirmed in any way whatsoever, and so I have no comment to make."
"I was a bit surprised to see that a confidential note from the DGSE had been published," he said after a summit with leaders of Germany and Russia.
The Saudi Interior Ministry was not available for comment