Bin Laden
Photo: Reuters
Saudi source: Bin Laden ill, not dead
Contradicting earlier report that al-Qaeda leader died of typhoid, Saudi intelligence source says Bin Laden alive but ailing

Fugitive al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is suffering from a serious illness, but his death has not yet been pronounced, according to a senior Saudi intelligence source, CNN reported Saturday.


This conflicted with the report earlier Saturday that a French secret service report said Saudi Arabia was convinced the al-Qaeda leader died of typhoid in Pakistan last month.


The Saudi source told CNN that in recent weeks, a number of elements reported Bin Laden’s illness, which he contracted after drinking contaminated water, but no information had been communicated that he had died.


The Saudi Embassy in Washington issued a statement on Sunday saying that Riyadh "possesses no proof" that Bin Laden is dead, AFP reported. 


CNN terrorism analyst, Peter Berger, reported that Bin Laden’s family members had not confirmed the report of his death. According to Berger, Jamal Khalifa, Bin Laden’s brother, said he had heard nothing to confirm the al-Qaeda leader’s death.


Berger further noted that if Bin Laden was in fact dead, the Islamic media would have reported it, as it is unlikely they would have hushed up such a sensational report.


The regional French newspaper l'Est Republicain printed what it described as a copy of a confidential document from the DGSE intelligence service citing an uncorroborated report from a "usually reliable source" who said Saudi secret services were convinced that bin Laden had died.


The document, dated Thursday, was sent to French President Jacques Chirac and other top French officials, the newspaper said.


Chirac said Saturday the report was "in no way whatsoever confirmed" and officials from Kabul to Washington expressed skepticism about its accuracy.


First published: 24.09.06, 00:19
 new comment
See all talkbacks "Saudi source: Bin Laden ill, not dead"
This will delete your current comment