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Sep 25, 2006 at 06:32pm IST

Journo convinced Osama is dead

Nancy (France): The reporter responsible for publishing speculation that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden could be dead, is convinced the intelligence memorandum he published is accurate.

Laid Sammari, a national reporter for the regional paper East Republican frequently writes about intelligence matters, but rarely has he seen a leak of this sort involving classified information from France's foreign intelligence agency.

A memo stating that a reliable source had given Saudi intelligence officials exact details of bin Laden's death.

“That is to say that August 23 in Pakistan after coming down with typhoid and the memorandum adds that he could not be treated because of absence of medical assistance,' Sammari says.

French and American intelligent services could not confirm the contents of the memo and said there was no new information on bin Laden's health.

But there was tacit confirmation that the memo is authentic from French president, Jaques Chirac, who said on Saturday that he had ordered an investigation into how the memo found its way into print.

“He can not reveal who gave him the memo, but that it is circulated three days ago through the President and the PM offices as well of the offices of the Interior and Defense ministers, passing through the hands of perhaps 50 people in addition to those in the foreign intelligence service. The reporter believes the memo will turn out to be true,” Sammari says.

“The note ends with information according to which the Saudis are waiting to localise the burial place of the body before making an official announcement of Bin Laden's death,' Sammari says.

He adds it is up to someone else to prove whether or not bin Laden is alive. All he is sure off is that Saudi intelligence has a source who says the leader of al-Qaeda is dead.