The U.S. government is unable to confirm a French newspaper report that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is believed to have died last month in Pakistan, a U.S. counterterrorism official said on Saturday.
"We cannot confirm the account," said the official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue. "It’s quite possible (that) there was some talk of this, but in terms of being able to confirm this, that I can’t do."
The French regional daily L’Est Republicain reported that, according to a French secret service report, Saudi Arabia was convinced that bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan in late August. The French government has said it could not confirm the report and would investigate the intelligence leak.
The U.S. State Department had no immediate comment and was looking into the reports.
© Reuters 2006