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Chirac: Intel on death of bin Laden isn't confirmed

Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Saturday September 23, 2006

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Paris- A document drawn up by the French DGSE intelligence service and made public on Saturday alleges that terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden died in August of typhoid. French President Jacques Chirac confirmed the existence of the document, which was published by the French regional daily L'Est Republicain, when he told journalists in the city of Compiegne, "I am surprised that a confidential document by the DSGE was published."

Chirac was speaking at a news conference following an informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Compiegne, some 75 kilometres north of Paris.

He said he had asked the defence ministry to investigate the leak of the document and then added, "nothing at all confirms the information" in the DGSC note, which was dated September 21.

L'Est Republicain said it based its information about bin Laden's alleged death on the DGSE document, which was classified "defence secret," and reproduced what it claimed were verbatim extracts from it.

As cited in the story, the DGSE document reads in part, "According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi intelligence services are said to have acquired the information that Osama bin Laden is dead. The information gleaned by the Saudis indicates that the head of al-Qaeda was victim of a very strong attack of Pakistan on August 23, 2006."

The document goes on to say that bin Laden's geographical isolation rendered all medical assistance impossible, and that the illness had caused a partial paralysis of his legs.

It also states that Saudi officials were waiting for more information, notably about where bin Laden was buried, to make an official announcement about his death.

According to the newspaper, the DGSE found the Saudi report sufficiently credible to have relayed it last Thursday to France's highest officials, including Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agenteur