YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Saudis See No Evidence Bin Laden Has Died

September 25, 2006|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia said Sunday that it had no evidence Osama bin Laden was dead, casting further doubt on a secret document leaked in France that said Saudi secret services believed he died last month.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said that as far as he knew, the Saudi-born leader of Al Qaeda was alive.

"To my knowledge Osama bin Laden is not dead," he said on LCI television. He added that he had not seen a French secret service report, printed by a newspaper, that said Saudi Arabia was convinced Bin Laden had died of typhoid in Pakistan.

France, the United States and Britain have all said they can't confirm the report in the French regional daily L'Est Republicain, which quoted the DGSE foreign intelligence service.

Time magazine also posted an article on its website quoting an unidentified Saudi source as saying Bin Laden had been stricken by a waterborne disease and might be dead.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington issued a statement saying: "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no evidence to support recent media reports that Osama bin Laden is dead. Information that has been reported otherwise is purely speculative and cannot be independently verified."

French President Jacques Chirac told reporters that Bin Laden's death had "not been confirmed in any way whatsoever and so I have no comment to make." France has launched an investigation of the leak.

"No comment, no knowledge," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said when asked about the French article.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, asked in a BBC interview if he could shed light on the report, said: "No, I can't. I haven't heard anything that indicates that might be the case."

A U.S. intelligence source said Washington had no evidence that the report was any more credible than earlier rumors of Bin Laden's death.

Los Angeles Times Articles