Saudi authorities rejected the information originally published by French newspaper L'Est Republicain about the death of world’s most wanted terrorist, the founder of al-Qaeda terrorist network, Osama bin Laden. An official statement released by the government of Saudi Arabia said that it was speculative information the reliability of which was not confirmed by independent sources.
It is worthy of note that the above-mentioned provincial French newspaper published not really an article but a commentary to the facsimile report of the France’s military intelligence. The report particularly referred to certain sources in Saudi Arabia which claimed that Osama bin Laden died of typhoid fever on August 23 in Pakistan. The headline of the report had the top secret stamp and the abbreviation of the special service – D.G.S.E. The service, the newspaper wrote, sent the report to the President of France Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. The French Defense Department has not rejected the authenticity of the document.
Journalists asked for comments at a press conference held during the meeting of Russian, French and German leaders. Jasques Chirac said that he was very surprised to find out that the secret document had been exposed to the public. Chirac ordered the Defense Secretary of France to investigate the situation. The French president added that he had no comments regarding the supposed death of the al-Qaeda’s leader due to the lack of substantiating data.
Vladimir Putin joined his French counterpart and said that Russian special services had no information on the matter. “When such important reports are made and then leak, it suggests it is being done on purpose,” the Russian president said.
Two US officials, spokespeople for the White House and the State Department, confirmed the absence of information about Bin Laden’s death. Similar remarks followed from Pakistan and Afghanistan. A representative of the Afghan president noted that Afghan intelligence officers working in the east and the south-east of the country, where Taliban and al-Qaeda gunmen are hiding, reported nothing new about Osama bin Laden.
News about diseases (cancer in particular) of the 49-year-old bin Laden has become rather frequent recently. However, his death would lead to a massive exchange of electronic messages between the terrorists as it happened after the extermination of al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Bin Laden’s message, the obituary to the killed terrorist, appeared on the Internet shortly after June 7, when US special services killed Zarqawi.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov