Osama bin Laden (file photo) (AFP)
September 23, 2006 -- A newspaper has quoted a French secret service report today as saying that Saudi Arabia is convinced that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last month.
The French Defense Ministry said the report of bin Laden's death could not be verified. It said the ministry would launch an inquiry into the leak of secret documents.
French President Jacques Chirac has said the report has been "in no way confirmed." The French secret service, the DGSE, has refused to confirm the report, and there was no immediate official reaction from Saudi officials.
The French paper, "L'Est Republicain," printed what it said was a copy of the report dated September 21 and said it was shown to Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, and other French leaders the same day.
The document says that, according to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services are now convinced that bin Laden is dead.
The report was stamped with a "confidential" label and the initials of the French secret service.
(compiled from agency reports)